Bone grafting is sometimes called for as a precursor to some dental treatments which need a certain amount of bone to adhere to such as dental implants.
Bone grafting is an umbrella term of a number of different treatments. While different, the thing that this variety of procedures has in common is the building of bone for implant purposes. In a typical bone grafting treatment, either actual bone harvested from another part of your body, one harvested from a donor body or a bonelike material, is grafted onto the jaw in order to allow for dental implants to be fitted.
Bone grafting is sometimes called for when dental implants are fitted because a successful implant requires a certain amount of bone to adhere to. For those who have lost their own teeth, this can in itself lead to the loss of bone, which makes the fitting of implants difficult without bone grafting, Tooth loss can be attributed to a number of different causes including:
Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease)
Cavities within the tooth or infection
An injury or facial trauma
A problem with development
Regardless of whether or not your own bone is being harvested or a donor bone being augmented, local anaesthetic will be applied to numb the area (in the case where your own bone is being removed from elsewhere to be grafted onto the jaw, anesthic will also be applied to that area). Before bone is grafted the surgeon will make a small incision, allowing for an adequate amount of bone or bone like material to be augmented. This also enables the surgeon to make a decision regarding how much bone and the exact type of bone required to enable dental implants to be successful.
Where bone is being taken from your own body to be grafted onto the jaw, it will usually be taken from the lower jaw area (normally behind the back tooth) requiring a cut in the gum or from around the chin. Other options include the shin or hip. Where the cut is made in the chin, stitches will be required to close the wound.
The new bone is held in place with a number of small screws, which are made from titanium. A membrane is used to cover the new bone graft and then the incision is closed.
Because of the nature of the surgery, there will be certain procedures to follow in the weeks and months immediately after the bone graft has been carried out. This will include following a prescribed course of antibiotics, the use of a special mouthwash after brushing and sometimes, the use of pain medication to help alleviate discomfort.
Day-to-day life may also be affected with certain foods out of bounds while the graft area heals. For those patients who already wear dentures, they will need to be avoided for around four weeks (but sometimes longer) to allow for the wound to heal. A temporary bridge may also be made to help protect the graft.
In any case, if the bone which sits underneath the gum is not sufficient to support dental implants, a bone graft will first be required.
A bone graft must take place a good deal ahead of a dental implant, meaning the implant can not be made until six to nine months after the initial graft has been made. When the dental implant is fitted, the titanium screws will be removed.
There are a number of options for bone augmentation and, the exact course of action required will depend on a number of factors specific to each patient. Typically a dentist will consider the extent of the dental implants required and where they are located in the mouth before deciding on a course of action.
Depending on the type of bone grafting procedure recommended by your dentist, costs range from £400 to £3,000.
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