Under normal circumstances, teeth, gums, and bone sit tightly together inside the mouth. However, when one element becomes injured, diseased, or otherwise damaged the entire mouth can be affected. Periodontal disease can weaken the gum tissue and eventually result in tooth loss. The bones underneath the teeth are also vulnerable.
The bones that support the teeth and gums can be weakened as a result of injury, gum disease, tooth decay, or other forms of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a significant contributing factor to oral bone loss. Oral bone loss can potentially speed up the advancement of periodontal gum disease, which can lead to further complications. Oral bone loss also has aesthetic implications and can cause a person to experience discomfort while wearing dentures or other dental prostheses.
Addressing Oral Bone Loss
Until now, it was difficult to address oral bone loss; bones grow at a very slow rate, considerably slower than the development of gum disease. This meant that dental health professionals had no good way to treat the advanced stages of periodontal disease that contributed to oral bone loss. Today there are revolutionary procedures that can correct the damage done by periodontal gum disease. Guided tissue bone reconstruction is one such procedure.
What is Guided Tissue Bone Reconstruction?
Guided tissue bone reconstruction is a periodontal treatment that replaces lost bone growth with a membrane barrier, bioactive growth factor gel, or other tissue stimulating proteins. These substances interact with the existing bone and stimulate the regrowth of the boney structures that surround the teeth and support the gums. In some cases, a bone graft will have to be applied to the surgery site to further boost bone regrowth. This graft may come from the patient's body or a donor tissue bank, or be constructed from a synthetic material. Once the graft and growth stimulating factors have been introduced, the patient's natural oral bone will begin to regrow, replacing what was lost and reversing the effects of periodontal disease.
A patient receiving guided tissue bone reconstruction will first be given a local anesthetic via injection. The surgical procedure begins with the cutting and pulling back the gum line to expose the portion of the mouth affected by periodontal bone loss. The dental surgeon will place the growth factor or membrane barrier into the correct space and, if necessary, introduce the bone graft at the same time. The surgical site is then closed. The procedure will be repeated in any other affected area of the mouth.
Once the bioactive growth factor and bone graft are in place, new bone growth begins to take place. Gradually the lost bone is replaced by new bone and treatment can be considered a success. A follow-up exam may be necessary to check the healing process.