What is Bone Grafting?

A bone graft is used to recreate bone and soft supporting tissues lost due to gum disease. It’s also called regenerative surgery.

Effects of Bone Grafting

The result is improved aesthetics, simplified prosthetics and salvaged dentitions for everyday, happy patients. Begin your grafting with the highly predictable extraction socket preservation. The rewards are enormous preservation of the bony housing, restoration of the vertical bone height and protection of the papilla; all while gaining remarkable pontic contours.

Candidates for Bone Grafting

Regenerative surgery is a treatment for the gum disease called periodontitis. People with periodontitis lose gum coverage and bone support around their teeth. Regenerative surgery regrows these lost tissues.

Your Consultation

Before your surgery, you need to have basic periodontal treatment called scaling and root planing. You also must be taking good care of your teeth. You should brush twice a day and floss daily. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area for surgery.

Bone Grafting Procedure

The goal of regenerative surgery is to coax the body into rebuilding the bone and other structures that attach a tooth to the jaw. It is done by a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in diagnosing and treating gum disease.

First, the periodontist will separate the gums from your teeth to gain access to the roots and bone. The roots will be thoroughly cleaned. The holes (defects) in the bone will be filled in with a graft material. Then they will be covered with a physical barrier.

Bone grafting materials commonly used include bits of a patient’s own bone, cadaver bone, cow bone and synthetic glasses. The patient’s own bone is best. Barriers are used to prevent the gums from growing into the bony defect. Barriers are made from human skin, cow skin or synthetic materials.

After the graft is in place, the gums will be put back over the treated site and stitched into place. The site also may be covered with a bandage known as a periodontal pack or dressing.

During the next six to nine months, your body fills in the area with new bone and soft tissue. In effect, this reattaches the tooth to your jaw.

Recovery

You most likely will get a prescription for pain medicine to be used after surgery. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on when and how often to take all medicines that are prescribed for you.

It is very important for you to keep your mouth as clean as possible while you heal. This means you should brush and floss the rest of your mouth normally. If you don’t have a periodontal pack over the surgical site, you can use a toothbrush to gently remove plaque from the teeth.

Your gums should heal for about three months before the tooth is prepared for the final crown. Gums can shrink as they heal. If you don’t wait long enough, the edges of the crown could show. Your regular dentist will put in the crown or filling.

Mouth rinses containing chlorhexidine are commonly prescribed after periodontal surgery. These rinses do not remove plaque from the teeth. However, they kill bacteria and help your mouth heal.

Mouth rinses containing chlorhexidine are commonly prescribed after periodontal surgery. These rinses do not remove plaque from the teeth. However, they kill bacteria and help your mouth heal.

You may also have some swelling after surgery. You can reduce swelling by applying an ice pack to the outside of your face in the treated area. Antibiotics usually are prescribed to prevent an infection. Be sure to take them as instructed. Your periodontist will want to examine you in 7 to 10 days.

Risks

After your surgery, you may have some bleeding and swelling. There is a risk that you could develop an infection.

Your gums in the area that was treated are more likely to recede over time. The teeth that were treated may become more sensitive to hot and cold. They may develop cavities in the roots.

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FAQs

How long does a ridge preservation procedure take?

The extraction of the tooth and the placement of the regenerative materials takes approximately 60 minutes. Naturally, the exact length of time will vary from case to case. The stitches are removed 7-10 days later in a 10 minute visit. One or two ten minute check-up visits may be scheduled to ensure the area has healed correctly, and an x-ray will be taken a few months later to evaluate the amount of new bone growth.

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Will the ridge preservation procedure hurt?

Only “novocaine” is necessary to perform an extraction and ridge preservation procedure. During the visit you feel nothing since the area is numb. When the “novocaine” wears off, there will be some mild discomfort. Medication will be prescribed to control any discomfort you might experience. This procedure will not cause you to miss work, etc.

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Does the barrier which has been placed to accomplish the ridge preservation remain in my mouth?

If a dissolving type of membrane is utilized, it will be gone a few weeks after the procedure. If a non-dissolving barrier is used, it will be removed in a minor procedure which takes 15 minutes.

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How well does a ridge preservation procedure work?

The ridge preservation procedure is very predictable. The procedure rebuilds damaged bone, resulting in improved esthetics, continued health of the adjacent teeth, and the establishment of adequate bone for implant placement, if necessary.

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