6200 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90048
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What to Expect Ahead of a Bone Graft Procedure

Some patients need to have a bone graft because they lack sufficient jawbone to be able to have a successful dental procedure, like a dental implant. This could be due to genetics, the results of trauma to the jaw, the extraction of a tooth, a broken tooth, a failed root canal, or the natural loss of bone because of missing teeth (dentures do not stop this because they are not anchored into the jaw, unlike teeth or implants). All too often, it is the result of inadequate brushing and flossing that results in periodontal infection, which not only pulls away the gums from supporting teeth, but can even eat away at the underlying bone.

Why a Bone Graft May Be Necessary

Wilshire Smile Studio is one of the few multi-specialty practices in Greater Los Angeles and a member of our team is oral surgeon Dr. Nariman Saadat. He earned a B.S. degree in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics from U.C. L.A. before completing his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree there. He went on to receive his degree as a Medical and Surgical Doctor from Oregon Health and Science University.

“Many people are unaware that they have lost a significant amount of their jawbone because it can occur without causing any pain,” Dr. Saadat said. “A bone graft can replace it before a dental procedure requiring stronger bone in that area, but this can also 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, for example, the maxillary sinus, located over the back teeth in the upper jaw, needs to have its floor elevated with additional bone before an implant can be successful. Wherever it is needed, there are several possible sources for the additional bone, all of them completely safe: 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

Having a bone graft may sound like it could be painful, but not with the anesthetic options of modern dentistry. Usually, after a topical numbing solution is applied, a small pinprick injection of a local anesthetic is adequate for bone grafting to be painless for most patients. But you do have other options, from simply relaxing by breathing in nitrous oxide (so-called laughing gas) and mild or strong oral pain medication to an IV anesthetic drip that will allow you to sleep right through the operation.

It typically takes several months for the graft to heal and you will be given instructions on how to eat in the meantime. 

Deciding whether you need a bone graft starts with having a full dental exam, including a digital x-ray or CT Scan, so be able to see how healthy your jawbone is. Call Wilshire Smile Studio today to set an appointment to discuss your options to achieve full oral health.

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