When a person with good general health loses a tooth due to periodontal disease, injury, or another infection, a dental implant is an excellent, safe, and long-term solution. In order for the dental implant process to be a success, there must be enough bone in the jawbone to support the implant(s). In cases where the bone under the gum is not wide, tall or dense enough, a bone graft is performed to create a strong foundation of bone for the implant to anchor into. Bone grafting may be a necessary part of the process when it comes to inserting a dental implant.
Generally, dental bone grafting involves removing a piece of bone from another part of the patient’s jaw or body and transplanting it into the jawbone. Alternative options today include obtaining bone from a cadaver source or an animal source to replace the missing bone.
PREPARING FOR THE SURGERY
You will be advised to undergo half or full mouth X-ray and CT scan in order to determine if a bone graft is necessary, the extent of grafting required and what source material should be used. If your own bone is to be used as the graft, the location it will be harvested from will also be scanned and analysed such as chin or hip bone.
ON THE DAY OF THE SURGERY
After its decided what type of graft will be used, types of anaesthesia is decided. If bone graft is taken from your chin, first, the oral surgeon administers local anaesthesia to both the recipient and donor bone sites. An incision is made in the gum at the recipient site, followed by an incision below the lower front teeth, exposing the chin bone. A block of bone and marrow is removed from the chin. The surgeon will then cover the area with a layer of tissue or bone substitute to keep the gums from growing into the hole while it heals. After closing the incision at the donor site, the block of donor bone will be placed at the recipient site and anchored in place with small screws which are removed after the recovery period during the implant procedure. A mixture of marrow and other material is placed around the edges of the block to stimulate bonding. The surgeon then lays down a tissue membrane over the graft before closing the incision.
If the donor bone is taken from hip area, general anaesthesia is administered and you may require a hospitalization of one or two days for undergoing the procedure. After harvesting the donor bone, it will be placed at the recipient site in the same way as done for chin bone.
Alternatively, bone can be sourced from freeze-dried human bone, or animal bone. Synthetic materials can also be used.
After the surgery, you will be kept in recovery room for observation. After surgery, you may experience typical discomfort, such as gum or skin swelling or bruising and minor bleeding, but these common side effects dissipate quickly. You will be given pain medication, antibiotics and an antibacterial mouthwash. They are advised to avoid certain foods and putting stress on the graft until it heals completely. If you had the surgery under general anaesthesia you may need to stay in hospital for one or two days depending on your vital status. If done under local anaesthesia you can be discharged the same day of the procedure.
Depending on the size of the graft and the materials used, it can take 4-9 months before the jaw is strong enough to receive implants. During that time, you are advised to maintain proper oral care (routine brushing and flossing) and a healthy diet to ensure its success. In general, patients are advised to avoid strenuous activity for two to three days after having a bone graft. You can apply ice packs for 20 minutes at a time during the first 48 hours to minimize the swelling. There are also some diet restrictions, such as only being able to consume soft foods while the mouth heals, following each stage of the bone graft and implant procedure.
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Q: Is it necessary to have bone grafting done before dental implantation?
A: Bone grafting is performed to reverse the bone loss caused by Periodontal disease, tooth loss or ill-fitting removable dentures. When one loses a tooth, the surrounding bone shrinks over time. To preserve this bone for implant placement or for aesthetics, a bone graft is used.
Q: How safe is a dental bone graft?
A: Dental bone graft is generally a safe and a critical procedure to ready a site for a dental implant and is used in areas where the patient has insufficient bone for the implants to integrate fully. However, there’s a minimal risk of graft rejection.
Q: Does bone grafting procedure hurts?
A: As a small incision is done to in the gum to access the bone beneath it, you may feel mild post-operative pain and soreness which will be managed by pain medications.
Q: How long does it takes to Dental bone graft to heal?
A: Dental bone grafts takes around four to six months to heal and undergo implantation.
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