Accidents or trauma
Wearing dentures for long time
Natural aging of the body and bone loss
When damaged tooth is extracted, it leaves behind a hole surrounded by a shell of alveolar bone, which is extremely thin on the outer side. This bone’s only purpose in the human body is to support a tooth. As a result, when the tooth is lost the body quickly begins to resorb the bone, unless it is immediately replaced with “ridge preservation graft” (socket graft) material. The ridge graft is designed to fill the void left by the extracted tooth and hold the volume of this space while natural bone has the opportunity to proliferate and fill the space with high quality live bone. The graft is applied to the empty hole immediately after a tooth extraction and is secured using a membrane and sutures until it has the opportunity to begin consolidation This facilitates a future dental implant in the place of the lost tooth. Depending on the size of the tooth that was extracted, the ridge graft requires between three to six months before an implant can be placed.
If the patient has been missing teeth for a long time, significant bone loss may have already taken place. Hence dentist will open the soft tissue and place the bone graft material to build the jaw bone, both in height and width. Dentist may also use special membranes to protect the graft material and encourage bone regeneration. This procedure is typically called ridge augmentation. It may take between six to eight months for the bone to grow and the site be ready for an implant placement.
The procedure is done under local anesthesia and patient will be able ro resume normal routine in couple of days. Antibiotics and pain medication will be precribed to control swelling and pain. We also offer sedation if patient can not handle the anxiety of the surgery.
The bone grafting site is allowed to heal for few months and success of the bone graft is assessed using a CT scan prior to placing an implant at the site.
Bone Graft Materials
Bone graft materials are of different types:
Allograft bone: This is provided by an organ donor and processed to ensure its safety and improve the handling characteristics. The advantages of allograft bone are that it is readily available and does not require a second surgical site. Allograft bone has been well documented in clinical trials and has an excellent safety record.
Xenograft bone: This comprised of bovine bone (cow bone). This bone is harvested from known healthy cows and is processed through a freeze drying procedure that renders a sterile end product containing only the mineral content of natural bone.
Synthetic bone: Newer synthetic bone materials contain calcium phosphates and specific proteins that stimulate bone growth in the matrix provided by the synthetic materials.
Pleaes discuss with the doctor if you have any concerns about the bone graft materials before the bone graft surgery.
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After the Procedure
- Do not touch or disturb the bone graft site
- Do not rinse the mouth. Avoid continuous spitting or cause any other disturbance
- Eat only soft food (ice cream, shake etc) for few days. Avoid chewing food on the side
- Do not smoke
- Do not brush the bone graft site for several weeks.
- If you feel the suture, do not try to pull it. It will do great harm to the bone graft and may force open the wound.
- Finish all the presribed medications
Follow-up appointments are typically scheduled after one week. Dentist will check the bone graft site and remove the sutures. Implant placement is typically scheduled after 4-6 months following the bone graft procedure.