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Why Bone Grafts In Dentistry Are Necessary

In most treatment cases, it isn’t necessary to have any advance work done prior to having a dental procedure performed. Some of the more advanced procedures, however, may require that the area be prepared. In the simplest cases, any presence of gum disease needs to be eliminated to make the procedure safe to perform. In other cases, such as implants, it may be necessary to perform a bone graft to ensure there’s sufficient material to hold the restoration. If you’ve discovered that you’re going to need a bone graft, this guide will let you know what to expect.

What Is a Bone Graft? Why One Be Needed?

A bone graft procedure helps to supplement existing bone by adding extra material. This is generally necessary when an area of the mouth has lost material from degeneration or disease. In some cases, there may simply have never been enough bone structure in the area, to begin with. Bone grafts require surgery and are performed under anesthesia by a qualified dental surgeon.

The most common reason a bone graft is needed is for a dental implant. When a tooth is lost, the hosting jaw bone begins to degrade from a lack of stimulation. This results in the jaw shrinking and losing strength as a lack of stimulation prevents nutrients and blood from moving to the area. Inserting healthy tissue into the location helps create an environment suitable for placing an implant.  

There are four common sources for bone graft material:

  • Autograft – This describes bone taken from the patient’s own body. This is done in the majority of cases where a bone graft is needed. It eliminates the risk of rejection and aids in healing.
  • Allograft – This describes bone material received from a donor. In this case, the source is specifically bone from a cadaver that’s been thoroughly sanitized. 
  • Allopast – When synthetic bone material is used in the procedure, the material is known as alloplast.
  • Xenograft – This describes the placement of bone material from a non-human source, typically a cow. This is incredibly successful when significant amounts of material are needed.

Your dentist will thoroughly discuss which of these options will be used in your procedure.

What to Expect From the Bone Graft Procedure

In most cases, the bone graft procedure will be performed in your dentist’s office. The procedure will take place under local anesthesia and sedation if possible. In some cases, it becomes necessary to use general anesthesia, which will render you unconscious. Before the procedure, your dentist will walk you through the whole procedure, including what to expect from the healing process. You typically will have to wait to have your implant placed until the graft heals, but this isn’t always the case.

If you’re seeking to learn more about bone grafts, call your dentist. They’ll go over all the particulars of your case, the materials used, what the procedure will look like, and what to expect from recovery. Bone grafts are an effective way of making sure your dentist can rebuild your smile and produce fantastic results.

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