Bone Grafting​​​

Correcting bone loss.

What Is the Purpose of Bone Grafting?​

The function of your jaw bone is to support teeth, so when a tooth is lost, the bone loses its function and tends to shrink over time. Most of this bone shrinkage occurs three to six months after a tooth is lost. This shrinkage can be minimized by carrying out a bone graft when the tooth is pulled, this is also known as socket preservation. However, in cases where a tooth has been missing for quite some time, the bone has already been lost, so new bone needs to be rebuilt in order to place a dental implant.

Dentist examining patient

There Are Two Main Surgical Techniques for Bone Grafting​

1. Block Grafting

In this technique a piece of bone is obtained from one part of the jaw and moved to another part of the jaw. This piece of bone then fuses at the new location, resulting in increased bone volume.

2. Guided Bone Regeneration

In this technique small bone chips are placed in the area of bone shrinkage and covered with a special barrier. This tricks the body into growing new bone in the area, increasing the bone volume.

Bone Graft Options

All of the options are safe and provide good results; however, in cases where extensive grafting is required it is usually best to use your own bone as it has the best potential for bone growth.

Two Scenarios That Can Impact Bone Graft Timing​

1. There is enough bone to place the dental implant, but the implant is not completely encased in bone. In this case you can carry out bone grafting at the same time that you place the implant. The benefit of this is that it reduces the overall treatment time until you get your tooth replaced.

2. There is not enough bone to secure the dental implant. In this case bone grafting is carried out and allowed to completely heal before placing the dental implant.

How Long Does It Take to Heal?​

The healing time of bone grafts varies. The gums over top of the bone graft will heal rapidly (in 2-3 weeks); however, the bone takes longer to heal. Small bone grafts can heal in as little as three months where large bone grafts can take as long as nine months to completely heal.

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