A dental bone graft is when your dentist or oral surgeon introduces new bone to your jaw or a tooth socket to help preserve and enhance the existing bone. The bone can either be yours, a donor’s, or a synthetic form of bone.
Bone grafts are a necessary part of several dental procedures for certain patients. But when are bone grafts needed in dentistry? The following are the top scenarios where a bone graft would be required for a successful procedure.
For Dental Implants
When you lose a tooth, your body will naturally absorb the jawbone that was being stimulated by that tooth over time. This is why it’s imperative to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible. However, about half of patients who pursue a dental implant need a bone graft before starting the procedure .
A bone graft can help build quality bone where the implant needs to be placed. Not only can a bone graft increase the chances of dental implant success, but it can also help restore the fullness to your face from the missing tooth, which provides both functional and aesthetic benefits to patients.
Bone grafting may also be necessary for implant-supported dentures, in which a few dental implants are placed to support a permanent denture that attaches to the implants. Implant-supported dentures allow the security of dental implants without having to replace every missing tooth with an implant.
When a Tooth Is Extracted
If you need a tooth extracted, your dentist or oral surgeon will likely perform a minor bone graft immediately following the tooth extraction. This process, called socket preservation, allows your missing tooth to retain its structure, which helps ensure the site has enough quality bone for a future dental restoration, such as a dental implant.
Maintaining the socket through socket preservation following an extraction may help the site heal faster and allow for more options should a tooth replacement be necessary . Ask your dentist about socket preservation if you need a tooth extraction.
When Treating Severe Gum Disease
In cases of severe gum disease, bacteria and infection can damage the bone that helps anchor your teeth in place, also called alveolar bone. To properly treat gum disease and help prevent teeth from loosening and falling out, a bone graft may be necessary to help support the teeth and restore lost bone .
For bone grafting to take place, any active infection must be properly treated and resolved. Therefore, bone grafting is one of the last steps to restoring your smile from gum disease. Your dentist or periodontist will let you know if a bone graft is necessary to restore any lost bone in your jaw and protect your teeth.
A Bone Graft Can Help Restore Your Smile
Whether you’re getting a bone graft for dental implants, after a tooth extraction, or to repair your smile after gum disease, a bone graft can help you restore your oral health and enjoy a beautiful, strong smile for as long as possible.