Bone grafting plays a pivotal role in dental implant surgery for patients whose jawbone is too weak or too thin to adequately support an implant. But even though grafts are becoming more common, plenty of dental patients don’t know why or how grafts are used.
Brandon Kang, DDS, and the team at Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center use bone and connective tissue grafting to help stabilize and preserve jaw tissue in patients at their practices in Oakland and San Francisco, California. If you’re thinking about dental implants or you have jaw weakening from a lost tooth or deep infection, here’s what you should know.
Bone grafting uses state-of-the-art techniques to first harvest bone tissue, then transplant it to your jawbone. Over the next few months, the bone graft fuses with your natural bone in the transplant site, helping to strengthen and stabilize that area of your jaw. Many graft procedures use bone taken from another part of your mouth, but other sources can be used as well.
Even though bone grafting sounds complex, it’s a pretty straightforward procedure that’s used routinely in patients who need dental implants. That’s because tooth loss can cause rapid deterioration and degradation of the remaining tooth socket and surrounding bone. Without a bone graft, that part of your jaw may be too weak to support your new implant securely.
Placing a dental implant is just one reason a bone graft is used. Grafts are also used in patients who’ve lost bone tissue due to periodontal disease, and they’re routinely used in jaw or facial reconstruction procedures.
One of the benefits of bone grafting is that grafts can be placed in different areas, based on your needs and treatment goals.
The roof of your mouth forms a sort of floor for your sinuses. This layer of bone is quite thin, which means there’s not a lot of bone to work with if you need an implant or other work in your upper arch (the top row of teeth).
In a sinus graft, Dr. Kang gently lifts the sinus membrane, creating a slim pocket for a bone graft. The graft strengthens the sinus floor area, providing greater stability for restorations in your upper arch.
Your tooth sockets are like bony pockets that secure your teeth. Once a tooth is lost, the socket material breaks down pretty quickly, leaving you with an area of thin bone.
A socket graft works to preserve the socket material, minimizing bone loss for better jaw strength and shape. Socket grafts also provide necessary support for dental implants.
The alveolar ridges are bony prominences that are part of your upper and lower jaws. Each ridge provides support for individual tooth sockets. As you age, the ridge can begin to wear down. Deep decay and infection can also cause the ridge to become weak and thin.
A ridge augmentation procedure uses bone grafts to augment the alveolar ridge, providing more support and stability for your tooth sockets. Alveolar ridge procedures can also be used to help prevent future tooth loss.
Connective tissue grafts are typically used to build up your gum tissue surrounding one or more teeth. These grafts can be very helpful if your gums have receded significantly, exposing the lower parts of your teeth to infection and decay.
Connective tissue grafts can also be used prior to dental implant treatments to provide a protective, stable environment for your implant. These grafts can be placed on their own or in combination with a bone graft procedure.
Bone and connective tissue grafting requires special techniques and special training to ensure the best possible outcomes. Dr. Kang has the skills and experience to help you feel confident about your procedure and your results.
To learn more about tissue grafting, call our office most convenient to you or book an appointment online today.