In Centerville, Virginia, Dr. Georges Traboulsi, DDS, of the Dulles Dental Group offers periodontal services, which include bone grafting for dental implants and other purposes.
Bone Grafting Q & A
What Is Bone Grafting?
Tooth loss occurs for a number of reasons; dental implants can solve the problem, restoring normal appearance and function. However, the implant will not succeed unless the patient has an adequate and strong bone in the jaw, where the implant is attached. The bone must also be tall enough and wide enough to accept the implant. A periodontist grafts bone or bone-like material into the jawbone to build it up.
Why Is Bone Grafting Necessary?
The Jawbone might be weak because of a previous injury or surgery. Some people are born with naturally small jawbones. Osteoporosis (bone thinning) can occur as people get older. If patients have had a missing tooth for a long period, the bone in that area may weaken and break down. Chronic inflammation — such as that present in gum disease — can also cause the bone to break down. Smoking and cancer, as well as radiation and chemotherapy, can affect bone health.
What’s the Bone Grafting Procedure Like?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure. If patients need to use their own bone, it will typically come from the hip or shin bone, which means a short hospital stay. Their other option is cadaver bone, which may come from humans or cows. The bone will be fastened with titanium screws. Synthetic material may also be used. In all cases, patients will need local or general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Patients will also have incisions (cuts) in the gums to insert the bone, which will be stitched or stapled closed.
What Aftercare Will Patients Need?
Expect to be given pain medication, antibiotics and an antibacterial mouthwash to help relieve pain and decrease the risk of infection. Patients may need to avoid certain foods to keep from putting pressure on the surgical area, and their periodontist may make a temporary removable bridge protecting the area while it heals. Full healing takes six to nine months, after which the screws will be removed and the dental implant put in place.