Jaw Bone Loss
If you have lost one more of your teeth as a result of injury, gum disease, decay, or some other form of trauma, you may experience loss of bone in the jaw. Teeth provide essential stimulation to the jawbone. When teeth are missing, the area of bone surrounding the lost tooth or teeth may start to deteriorate, as it is no longer being used.
When jawbone loss is severe, dental implants may be impossible to use. When this happens, Drs. Silverstein and Parker may recommend bone grafting.
What Is Bone Grafting?
There are three different kinds of bone grafting:
In each of these procedures, missing bone is replaced or augmented into the jawbone.
In an autogenous graft, bone mass is taken from one area of the body and used in the jaw. To avoid problems in bone structure and growth, bone mass is taken only from non-essential areas. Certain areas of the chin are often used for autogenous grafting.
Autogenous grafting is often a preferred method because the bone that is used is alive and active, and comes directly from the patient. This can reduce the risk of rejection and can also help to prevent infection.
Allografts and Xenografts
In the case of allografts, human bone (often taken from a cadaver) is donated and used in the jawbone. Before allograft bone is used, it is carefully examined to ensure that it is safe.
Xenografts use non-human materials, such as cow bones, to replace bone loss.
Although autogenous grafting is the most preferable grafting method, it is not always easy, or even possible to obtain ample bone supply from the patient’s body. When this is the case, allografts and xenografts can serve as very successful alternatives.
The Grafting Procedure
Before any grafting procedure is started, local anesthesia is used on the areas that may be involved. A simple incision is made near the area that will be receiving the bone graft. This incision can help to give the dentist a precise measurement of how much bone will be needed.
For an autogenous graft, an incision is then made below the lower teeth to provide unobstructed access to the chin bone. A small portion of the bone and bone marrow will be removed.
The new bone is then secured into place using small titanium screws, giving the jaw bone its new and improved structure.
Once the procedure is complete, open areas will receive stiches and you will be given a prescription for antibiotics and pain medicine. After six to nine months, your newly grafted jaw bone will likely be completely healed.