For patients seeking dental implants, Bone Grafting is an essential tool for improving the success of the procedure. With a Bone Graft, patients can have a solid base for implants, ensuring the result is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
In a Bone Graft, bone tissue is taken from another source and added to areas of the jaw where deterioration has begun. This stimulates new growth for a more solid structure.
What Are the Different Types of Bone Grafts?
There are three main types of Bone Graft procedures: Autogenous, Allogenic, And Xenogeneic. Of these, the most commonly used is Autogenous. While there are many options when it comes to getting a bone graft, our surgeons will take the time to find the best fit for you
- Autogenous Bone Grafts are when bone cells are gathered from your own body, typically the skull, hip, leg bone, jaw, or chin. The cells are living, meaning they will assist in growth once they are placed in the jaw.
- Allogenic Bone Grafts are when bone cells are harvested from a cadaver. Because the cells are not living, they merely act as a framework for the patient’s own bone to grow over.
- Xenogeneic Bone Grafts are when bone cells are harvested from another species, such as a cow. Like Allogenic Grafts, these cells are not living and just provide the framework for the existing bone to grow over.
There are also new methods of Bone Grafting that use synthetic materials rather than donor or animal bone products. While many of these materials are still being developed, they offer a promising solution to the problem of bone loss.
Why Would a Patient Need a Bone Graft?
Bone Grafts are often necessary for patients who have had missing teeth for some time. When teeth are missing, the jawbone fails to receive the stimulation it requires to stay healthy. Over time, the jawbone begins to reabsorb into the body, shrinking and losing mass. Of course, this isn’t the only catalyst for deterioration of bone tissue, but it’s one of the problems most commonly encountered by oral surgeons.
With a bone graft, the missing teeth of patients can build a jawbone base that’s sturdy enough to hold dental implants. With dental implants, patients’ smiles, self-confidence, and the ability to talk, eat, and speak will all improve.
What Problems Are Associated With Poor Jawbone Health?
Having a lack of bone along the jaw is important for more than just the success of dental implants. Over time, patients can start to experience pain, altered facial appearances, and even problems with eating and speaking as the bone deteriorates. The longer the symptoms are ignored, the worse they will become, as the jaw will just continue to wear away.
Some problems patients should keep an eye out for include:
- Expansion of the sinuses, which can cause pain and congestion.
- Distortion of certain facial features, such as the cheekbones, nose, and smile.
- Limited lip support, which could create a sagging, loose look in the lips.
- Collapsed facial profile, which will give you an entirely different appearance.
- Frequent headaches and facial pain.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, which might make it difficult to eat or speak.
- Poor nutrition because of problems with eating.
- Loss, drifting, or misalignment of remaining teeth.
If patients are experiencing these symptoms, they should contact Oklahoma Dental Implants and Oral Surgery right away for help.
What Are the Reasons for Bone Loss?
As previously mentioned, losing teeth isn’t the only reason the jawbone deteriorates. There are plenty of other reasons for a patient to start losing vital bone tissue. The following are some of the most common reasons a bone graft is required.
While most people probably know it best as gum disease, periodontal disease is a real threat to the oral health of patients. It occurs whenever bacteria are allowed to run rampant in a person’s mouth, causing decay, inflammation, and more.
There are two kinds of Periodontal Disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis is the lesser form of the disease and often acts as a precursor to Periodontitis. While not everyone who has Gingivitis will develop Periodontitis, everyone who has Periodontitis started with Gingivitis. Both Gingivitis and Periodontitis can affect the following structures in the mouth:
- Alveolar Bone, the part of the jaw that holds the tooth sockets.
- Periodontal Ligament, the connective tissues that hold the tooth in the socket.
- Cementum, the protective layer covering the root of a tooth.
- Gingiva, the tissue that lines the jawbone (better known as gums).
Dental plaque is usually the catalyst for Gingivitis. This plaque forms on a person’s teeth on and around the gums, creating a layer of food particles and bacteria. These bacteria feed on the food particles and produce toxins that can cause bleeding, swelling, redness, and irritation to your gums. Over time, this inflammation eventually causes the teeth to separate from the gums, creating pockets where even more plaque can flow.
Periodontitis is similar to gingivitis but far more severe. At this point, the gum and bone that keep teeth securely in place actually begin to deteriorate as it’s overpowered by plaque. If left unchecked, this can cause irreversible changes in the mouth, including loss of teeth.
The best defense against Periodontal Disease for patients is good oral hygiene and regular trips to an oral health professional.
Another issue that can limit stimulation to the jawbone are dentures that are unanchored. These typically sit directly on top of the gum line, so the bone underneath can begin to deteriorate. This is quite the paradoxical situation because these types of dentures require the structure of the bone to hold them in place. As the bone begins to reabsorb, the dentures will no longer fit correctly, even with the strongest adhesives.
To prevent this, patients should consider having their dentures anchored in place, as this helps preserve bone.
Similar to dentures, bridgework also covers up parts of the jawbone, preventing this area from receiving stimulation. While the teeth on either side of the gap will be properly rooted in the bone, the space with the bridge over the top will begin to deteriorate. The only way to correct this problem once it has begun is with a bone graft.
Injury or Trauma
Whether a patient has lost a tooth during a big athletic event in the Oklahoma City metro area or by getting in a car accident on one of the busy roads in Norman or Moore, this trauma can be a big contributor to bone loss. Any time a tooth is broken or knocked out so that no biting surface is left below the gums, the jaw will not receive the stimulation it requires to stay solid. The only way to reverse this effect is with bone grafting, which should promote new growth in any area suffering from an injury.
Crowding of teeth can sometimes push teeth into misalignment so severe that the tooth no longer has a neighboring tooth structure for support. When this happens, the tooth can over-erupt, reducing stimulation in the jaw and contributing to bone loss.
This problem isn’t just reserved for misaligned teeth, however. Patients in the Norman, Edmond, and Lawton areas suffering from TMJ issues, lack of dental care, and wear and tear can have problems chewing their food correctly, which also leads to bone loss.
It’s not uncommon for Benign Facial Tumors to grow in or around the jaw. To prevent these tumors from spreading or applying pressure on the jaw, they should be removed as soon as possible. Even with immediate surgery, partial removal of the jaw is often required. Luckily, Bone Grafting is an excellent tool for restoring size and function to the jaw.
Unfortunately, the process can be slightly more challenging for patients with Malignant Tumors, as surrounding soft tissues must usually be removed as well to ensure all the cancerous cells are gone.
Congenital Missing Teeth
Some people are simply born without these teeth. A Bone Graft is a helpful tool in giving these patients the normal look and function they crave.
Bone Grafting by OKDIOS
Patients living in the Norman, Edmond or Lawton areas should come to see our surgeons for all their bone grafting needs.
With combined years of experience treating a wide range of cases, our surgeons offer each patient the personalized touch they desire when it comes to their oral health. Schedule your consultation today by calling (405) 329-3500.