Bone Grafts

A bone graft is used to replace bone that was lost due one or more factors: a facial accident causing bone loss to the jaw, traumatic teeth removal, gum disease, cysts, and/or tumors.

Bone augmentation or grafts, is a term that describes a variety of procedures used to “build” bone so that dental implants can be placed. These procedures typically involve grafting (adding) bone or bonelike materials to the jaw. The graft can be your own bone or be processed bone (off the shelf) obtained from a cadaver, a cow, or coral from the sea. After grafting, you have to wait several months for the grafted material to fuse with the existing bone. “Off–the-shelf” grafted materials either cause surrounding bone to grow into the graft or cause cells around the graft to change into bone. A graft from your own bone transplants bone cells that change into bone where it was placed in your jaw.

Several different procedures can be used for bone augmentation. Dr. Lin will discuss your particular problem and present you with several options, and the pros and cons of each type of graft and type of bone.

The Procedure

Local anesthesia is used to numb the area where the bone will be removed as well as the location where the bone will be augmented. An incision is made in the gums around where the bone will be augmented. This is done so that the dentist can see exactly how much bone will be need before harvesting it from the patient (if an autogenous graft is being performed).

Next, the dentist will make a cut in the gums below the lower front teeth in order to expose the chin bone. The dentist will then remove a part of the bone along with any bone marrow. This incision is then closed with stitches.

The bone removed from the chin will then be anchored in place in the jawbone with small titanium screws.

The dentist may place a mixture of your bone marrow and some bone-grafting material around the bone graft to help speed healing. The incision is then closed with stitches.

After the procedure you will likely be given antibiotics as well as pain medication. You’ll be asked to follow a restricted diet of soft foods such as pastas and Jell-O. Bone grafts usually take about six to nine months to heal completely. Dental implants will not be placed until your mouth has healed completely.

Success of Bone Grafting

The success rate for bone grafts in the jaws for the purpose of placing dental implants is very high. However, there is always a chance that the bone graft will fail, however, that is pretty rare. If a graft should fail, Dr. Lin will remove the graft, let the area heal, and perhaps place a different graft. After bone augmentation, dentists usually wait four to nine months before placing implants

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