Bone grafting is a dental procedure that is often done in conjunction with dental implants, though it can be done on its own, too. The process involves fusing bone tissue to your existing jaw in order to build it up and make it stronger. The team here at South Austin Dental performs bone grafting procedures for our clients as needed. The procedure itself is also not as complex or as invasive as it may sound.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a process where we remove a small amount of bone from other parts of the body and fuse it to the bone in your jaw. We may also use bone tissue or synthetic tissue. Taking such a small amount of bone does not weaken or damage the part of the body it comes from. We also typically take bone tissue from bones that are not vital or that bear a lot of your weight. We then attach this tissue to the bone in your jaw. Over time, the jaw absorbs the grafted tissue, creating a stronger, more durable bone.
When Is Bone Grafting Done?
Bone grafting may need to be done if you have lost teeth or have suffered from periodontal disease. Both of these situations can cause your jawbone to lose some of its density. If you wish to have an implant done to replace the lost tooth or missing teeth, you may need to have the jaw built up so that it is strong enough to support the posts that hold the implants in place.
Even if you do not want to get implants, you may still need a bone graft. Losing bone mass in the jaw can change how your face looks. It can make your facial features look sunken or cause them to sag because you no longer have enough bone to provide the support necessary.
What to Expect from the Procedure
During the bone graft procedure, we will begin by giving you an anesthetic and harvesting the bone tissue, if necessary. We will then perform other procedures, such as tooth extraction, before we graft the tissue to the jaw. We will then close the tissue with dissolvable stitches. If you are going to have implants installed, we first must wait for the graft to fully fuse into the jawbone and for new cells to form. After several months, you will come in for an exam and, if the bone is dense enough, we can schedule your implant procedure.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Bone Graft?
Typically, it will take several days for the swelling to go down. You may feel some discomfort in your jaw, but it should not prevent you from talking or eating. We will give you a list of foods it is safe for you to eat since you will need to avoid any foods that can damage the surgery site. You may want to take some time off work while you recover. We will give you a more personalized recovery plan once we see how much of a graft you will need. Always follow any instructions we give you to avoid tearing open the stitches and risking infection.
Have questions about bone grafting or if you're a candidate for dental implants? You can always call South Austin Dental at (512) 441-8922 to ask us your questions or to arrange an appointment.