How Does Bone Grafting Work?

When you’re missing a tooth, it can cause serious problems in the rest of your mouth. Whether you lost it through injury, gum disease, or extraction, the gap it left behind is more than a cosmetic issue. Your other teeth, your gums, and even your jaw rely on a full set of teeth to keep your alignment straight, your gums tight and healthy, and your jawbone strong. 

A dental implant is a great way to replace your lost tooth and prevent further damage, but if your jawbone has deteriorated too much to support it, you may need a bone graft. 

Dr. Ramesh Sunar at Charlotte Dental Implant Center can stabilize your jawbone and give it the support it needs though bone grafting. It’s a safe and simple procedure that causes no more pain than a filling. Dr. Sunar specializes in dental implants and has vast experience in bone grafting, which often goes hand in hand with replacing lost teeth. 

He addresses all of your questions and concerns, and focuses on your comfort at all times, knowing that the phrase “bone grafting” may sound intimidating. To ease your mind, here’s what he wants you to know about how bone grafting works. 

The science of bones

Think of the work your bones do every minute of every day just to support your body and hold it upright. They need to be strong and rigid enough to carry your body weight and handle the stress of walking, running, lifting, and even impact. But it’s not as hard as you think.

Under a microscope, your bones are a matrix of hard material that looks a bit like a web. Inside that matrix live countless cells that constantly grow, multiply, and regenerate. These are the cells that heal a fracture when you break your arm.

In your jaw, however, something different happens. Your jawbone relies on the stimulation that comes from chewing in order to continuously produce new cells. A lost tooth means a loss of that function. The result is that your jawbone material resorbs, or melts away. 

Once that jawbone material is gone, the only option is to graft new bone material into the site so it can get back to a normal shape, structure, and function.

Bone graft sources

When you need a dental implant but your jawbone can’t support it, Dr. Sunar may recommend a bone graft. The bone can come from one of several sources.

Your own bone

This is called autograft tissue, because the bone material is taken from your a bone somewhere else in your body, typically your hip. 

Donor bone 

This bone is called allograft tissue and is donated either by a family member or deceased donor. 

Animal bone

This tissue, called xenograft, is derived from an animal, usually a cow. 

Synthetic bone

More and more popular, synthetic bone-like material called alloplast is readily available and is Dr. Sunar’s choice for bone grafting. 

The bone graft procedure explained

Dr. Sunar begins by making sure you’re relaxed, comfortable, and confident about the procedure. 

Step 1

He uses a local anesthetic to make sure you feel no pain while he is working. 

Step 2

He makes a small incision in your gum to access the bone underneath.

Step 3

If there is any bacteria or decay present, Dr. Sunar cleans the area.

Step 4

He inserts the synthetic bone graft, which may be a gel, putty, or powder, depending on what he determines is best for you. Then he covers the graft with collagen to help speed up the bonding and bone repair processes. 

Step 5

Dr. Sunar closes the incision.

That’s it. You may feel some soreness afterward, which is easily relieved with over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. 

Beyond your time in the dentist’s chair

After your bone grafting procedure, you’re free to go home and resume your normal life. Dr. Sunar gives you aftercare instructions on keeping the site clean, and you should be able to eat what you want fairly quickly.

Over the next few months, your jawbone bonds with the new material and starts to strengthen and harden again. Once it does, Dr. Sunar can implant a new tooth into the strengthened bone to replicate the conditions of a healthy oral cavity. 

Bone grafting not only restores your jawbone and gives you an option for dental implants where it didn’t exist before, it also improves your oral health and your aesthetic appearance. Gaps lead to shifting teeth, loose gums, periodontitis, and even facial distortions. Bone grafts fix all that by providing the proper foundation for implants.

Now that you know how simple and comfortable bone grafting is, give us a call, send us a message here on our website, or use the convenient Request Appointment button to set up your consultation with Dr. Sunar. 

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