Bone grafting techniques involve replacing bone in the jaw that has deteriorated, receded or been reabsorbed to restore its structure. It can help reverse damage and prevent future bone loss. Inadequate bone conditions can be due to tooth extractions, gum disease or other facial traumas and can cause a host of problems including facial deformities, difficulty speaking and chewing and pain while also preventing the likelihood of a successful restorative treatment like dental implants. By applying, or grafting, a supplemental material or donor tissue to a damaged section of bone, the cells begin a repairing process to strengthen deficient tissue or maintain existing structures.
Depending on the severity of the tissue damage and the patient’s condition, there are a few options when it comes to graft types:
- Autogenous Bone Grafts: Also known as autografts, these grafts use the patient’s own bone that has been harvested from another section of their body.
- Allogenic Bone Grafts: Allogenic bone grafts, or allografts, use synthetic bone material or human donor bone from a source such as a tissue bank.
- Xenogenic Bone Grafts: Xenogenic bone grafts, or xenografts, use bone harvested from another species like a cow.
Dr. Jung will go over your options and discuss the pros and cons of each type in order to help you make the decision for your individual case.
of Bone Grafting
Restores strength and stability to the jaw allowing for successful restorative treatments
Improves your facial appearance
Allows you to maintain oral health and prevents additional bone loss
The complexity of the treatment, recovery time and other considerations depend on the type of bone augmenting procedure a patient undergoes.
The common procedures include:
Major Bone Augmentation
Serious deterioration of the jawbone resulting from congenital defects, tumor surgery or traumatic injuries, is usually repaired using the patient’s own bone. The most common donor sites for tissue collection are the skull, hip and lateral knee. Dr. Jung performs the procedures to collect and place the replacement bone in an operating room under general anesthesia. Major bone augmentation requires a hospital stay.
Simple Bone Augmentation
When bone deterioration happens over time from tooth extractions or temporary tooth replacement treatments, it’s the result of the body’s natural process to remove unused bone tissue. These damages can typically be repaired using a more simple outpatient procedure such as:
- Socket Graft: Sometimes a tooth extraction is a necessary treatment for a deteriorating tissue site and it leaves behind an empty socket in need of repair prior placing an implant. To prevent further bone decay after the tooth has been extracted, Dr. Jung can place a ridge preservation, or socket graft, to fill the void. The socket graft preserves the structure of the jawbone and helps the existing tissue regenerate and naturally repair itself. The healing time for a socket graft depends on the size of the tooth extracted but typically takes between three and six months.
- Sinus Lift: The maxillary sinuses are located above the maxillary molars, the teeth found in the back of the upper jaw, and are separated from the oral cavity by a thin layer of bone. When these upper teeth are removed or lost, it requires more substantial bone mass to safely anchor implants. To supplement the bone tissue of the sinus wall, Dr. Jung enters the sinus where the upper teeth used to be and makes a small opening in the sinus above the future implant site on the jawbone. He then lifts the membrane lining of the sinus upward to form a small pocket that can be filled with bone grafting material. The healing period ranges on average from six to nine months.
- Ridge Augmentation: When the bone surrounding a missing tooth breaks down and can’t naturally repair itself, a ridge augmentation can be performed to restore the shape of the gums and jawbone. Dr. Jung will place bone-grafting material into the deteriorated section of the ridge to recreate the natural socket structure and a smooth gum line that will functionally and aesthetically work with your restoration or dental implant. Healing time will depend on the extent of the graft and the materials used.
PRE + POST
Dr. Jung will give you specific instructions for before and after surgery, however, they will vary depending on the type of bone augmenting procedure you undergo and the bone graft material that’s used. The full healing time ranges from three months to a year, though most people return to their normal activities within a few days. Some patients will experience swelling and aching after surgery and may have to stick to soft foods until the discomfort subsides.