A preparatory step in most dental implant procedures includes rebuilding bone with a major or minor bone graft. Bone loss is a fast and significant effect that comes from the loss of a tooth. At Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we can rebuild the bone with a simple in-office procedure. Following some healing time, the bone will be bulked up and ready to proceed. Though a bone graft is a minor surgical procedure, having the work done by professional oral and maxillofacial surgeons can make a significant difference in the results. Working with our team, including Dr. Robert G. Hale, Dr. James P. Jensvold, and Dr. Peterson, to rebuild bone can help you then pursue the dental restoration that you need to be healthy.
Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. Jawbone grafts are performed to restore a patient’s bite, including before dental implant placement.
Many patients are unaware, but missing teeth can cause your jawbone to atrophy, or resorb. The results are faster than you probably assume, the patient will lose about 25% of their bone mass in the first year following the extraction or loss of a tooth. This bone loss, or atrophy, can result in a visible difference in your facial structure. Many patients find that the visual difference leads to an older looking appearance.
Why does my bone atrophy after the extraction or loss of a tooth?
Your jawbone, just as any of your bones, requires exercise to stay healthy and robust. If you have ever experienced wearing a cast, or have known someone who was bedridden, an almost instant effect is some level of bone atrophy. When the cast is removed, the arm or leg appears, and is, smaller in size. A person who has been bedridden loses muscle strength. This is because our bones require movement. The jawbone receives its exercise from chewing; the motion is transferred from the tooth to the root, to the bone. When a tooth is lost, the root is also lost, breaking this connection. Even if the patient has a false tooth placed, using a dental bridge or denture, the root is still missing, and the energy of chewing cannot be transferred to the bone. The only way to truly restore the missing tooth is to rebuild the root; dental implants are that root.
Dental implants are a metal rod that we place into the jawbone, where it can then permanently anchor a false tooth. For us to be able to place the implant, we need sufficient bone mass. To restore the bone mass, the patient will need a bone graft.
What is a bone graft?
A bone graft is done in the office with a local anesthetic unless other or more intense work needs to be done. We simply open the tissue and place bone particles into the existing bone. These bone particles can be from one of several sources including:
Once the bone graft is placed, we then allow a process is known as guided bone regeneration and guided tissue regeneration to occur, basically fooling the human body to biochemically recognize the graft as natural bone. Along with the placement of specialized membranes, this will spark the growth of your bone, and the grafting material is absorbed, replacing the material with the patient’s native bone.
For more information on bone grafts, and how it can improve your oral health, contact our team at Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Our Woodland Hills office is available to answer your questions and help you restore your dental health. (818) 999-0900