When one or more teeth are lost, the jawbone decreases in volume, resulting in bone loss. This process is known as bone resorption and it can cause the teeth to become loose and the facial structure to change. To avoid this, dental implants are frequently used to preserve bone mass. However, dental implants need enough bone to function and must therefore be paired with a bone graft in individuals with low bone mass. Bone grafts are surgical procedures used to build up bone mass in areas of low bone density by placing bone material from a laboratory or the patient’s own body in areas that have undergone bone loss. As a bone graft heals, new bone will grow and replenish lost bone mass.
Did You Know?
A sinus lift is a specialized type of bone graft that is used to build up the upper jawbone in order to “lift” the sinus cavity and prevent it from becoming damaged during the placement of dental implants.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need a bone graft?
You will need a bone graft if you are having dental implants placed but do not have enough bone or bone density to support the implants. The longer your teeth have been missing, the more likely you will require a bone graft, especially if it has been six months or longer. You may also require a bone graft if you have been diagnosed with periodontitis that has caused bone deterioration. To determine if you need a bone graft to have dental implants placed, schedule a consultation with our Flushing, Queens Periodontist/Implant surgeon of New York Dental Solutions.
What can I expect when undergoing a bone graft at New York Dental Solutions?
When undergoing a bone graft at New York Dental Solutions, you can expect to undergo a minor oral surgery under local anesthesia. A small incision will be made in your gums to access the jawbone, then a bone graft will be deposited into the areas of depleted bone mass. A membrane may be placed to maintain and protect the graft, as well as to suture the gums together.
What can I expect after having a bone graft?
After having a bone graft, it is normal to experience some minor swelling and discomfort for the first few days. Bone maturation can take approximately 3-4 months before new bone has formed around the graft site. In order to ensure that your bone graft heals properly, our implant surgeon will provide you with guidelines to follow after surgery.
At a glance, these can include:
- Diet: Eat soft foods for the first day and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot foods and beverages for the first day since they can cause excess bleeding or burns.
- Oral Hygiene: Gently rinse with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt in 8 oz. water) 24 hours after surgery, then 4-5 times daily for the first few days. Be gentle while brushing your teeth to prevent disturbance to the surgical site.
- Medications: Take any antibiotics or pain medications as directed.
- Activity: Rest for the first 2-3 days and start to resume normal activities no sooner than day 3 post op.