A bone graft is a procedure to replace and restore bone loss. After a tooth has been extracted, or pathology from the bones removed, the body undergoes a natural process of healing. During this process, some of the bone may be lost. At San Jose Oral Surgery, Our Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon uses either the patients bone, cadaver bone, or bone from a different species to help minimize this process.
Why do I need a bone graft?
A bone graft is often necessary before a dental implant procedure. It’s necessary that your jawbone has enough density to properly support the implant. Often, patients opt for a bone graft after an extraction, so the area doesn’t feel indented. There are times when a bone graft might be necessary if you have gum disease or experience trauma to the jaw area.
What is the process for getting a graft?
Often times a bone graft is performed at the same time as your tooth extraction. If this is the case, the grafting material is placed into the socket directly after the tooth removal. By performing a bone graft at the same time as your extraction it saves you from multiple surgeries and appointments.
Bone grafts can be made from a variety of materials, including:
- Synthetic materials
- Bone material from another part of your body
- Human donor bone material
- Bone material from an animal source
If you are receiving a bone graft in a separate appointment our expert surgeon will cut into your gums revealing the bone site beneath. Your surgeon places the graft and covers it with a membrane. At this point, the site is stitched up. Over the next few months, your natural bone grows around the implant material adding strength and density.
Is the process painful?
If your bone graft is performed at the same time as your tooth extraction it is no more painful than that process. And since you will be under the influence of a local anesthetic and sedation if you choose, you won’t be able to feel the process. If your bone graft is occurring at a separate appointment, the same anesthesia or sedation is available.
After your bone graft, it takes a few days for your gums to heal. But your pain should be minimal and can be reduced by taking over-the-counter medicines. Your San Jose Oral Surgeon will give you specific instructions after your procedure.
CAN BONE GRAFTING PREVENT DRY SOCKET?
After tooth extraction, a blood clot forms in the socket encouraging the gum to grow over the top of the socket. Then, under the gum, the bone will grow where the blood clot was. However, sometimes the clot can be dislodged exposing the nerve ends inside the socket causing great pain. A bone graft after an extraction can help eliminate the chance of dry socket occurring. The bone is placed in the socket preventing the nerve endings being exposed.
WHY IS BONE GRAFTING NECESSARY AFTER EXTRACTION?
After an extraction you will likely experience bone loss. This occurs because the alveolar ridge will shrink over time. The alveolar ridge is also known as the gum ridge and is one of the two jaw ridges that the teeth attach to, either for the upper teeth or lower teeth. The shrinking occurs because your body will start to reabsorb bone material when it does not receive the stimulation that it received before through the chewing and biting of the teeth. If you get a bone graft soon after an extraction then the bone loss is less. If in the future, you decide to have a dental implant then your jaw will likely be stronger to support it and prevent you from needing surgery again or waiting for the bone graft to heal before the implant can be fitted.
IS BONE GRAFTING NECESSARY FOR DENTURES?
While bone grafting is not strictly necessary after a tooth extraction it is highly recommended even if you are just going to use dentures afterward. A bone graft helps keep the jaw bone strong, giving you a strong foundation for the dentures to sit. It can also be used to make a smooth surface for the dentures to sit on. This will help prevent the dentures from sliding around too much. Of course, if you really want your teeth to be stable then dental implants or hybrid implants are a better option.