Patients may need a bone graft to have a successful dental procedure, such as a dental implant, if they lack sufficient jawbone. This can be due to genetics, trauma to the jaw, a broken tooth, a failed root canal, or the natural loss of bone due to missing teeth.
Inadequate brushing and flossing can also cause periodontal infection, which can pull away the gums from supporting teeth and even eat away at the underlying bone.
Why a Bone Graft May Be Necessary
According to our board-certified oral surgeon Dr. Nariman Saadat, many people are unaware that they have lost a significant amount of jawbone because it can occur without causing any pain.
A bone graft can replace the lost bone, not only for a successful dental procedure but also to repair the sunken appearance along the jaw and cheeks, since bone supports the muscles in the lower face, resulting in full cheeks and lips.
Sometimes, additional bone is needed to elevate the floor of the maxillary sinus over the back teeth in the upper jaw before an implant can be successful.
Several possible sources for the additional bone are completely safe, such as from somewhere else in your own body, from a cadaver, cows, or biocompatible synthetic bone.
The bone particles that are grafted on simply become integrated with the existing bone, becoming a platform for re-growth.
Anesthetic Options for Bone Grafts
Modern dentistry offers anesthetic options that make bone grafting painless for most patients.
Usually, after a topical numbing solution is applied, a small pinprick injection of a local anesthetic is adequate.
Other options include nitrous oxide and mild or strong oral pain medication to an IV anesthetic drip that will allow you to sleep right through the operation.
After the graft, it typically takes several months to heal, and you will be given instructions on how to eat in the meantime.
To determine whether you need a bone graft, have a full dental exam, including a digital x-ray or CT scan, to see how healthy your jawbone is.
Contact Los Angeles Oral Surgeons today to discuss your options and book a consultation.