A dental bone graft is a procedure which is generally performed when it's necessary to increase the amount of bone in some part of the jawbone where material has been lost, or where extra support will be needed for some reason. The bone graft can use bone material from elsewhere in the body and then surgically fuse it to bone which already exists in the jaw. In some cases, synthetic bone material is also used, when it is deemed inadvisable to use bone material from the body itself. One of the most common reasons for doing a dental bone graft is as a preparatory step to installing dental implants.
If the dental bone graft procedure does not involve harvesting bone material from the patient's body, it can be a very simple procedure. The patient would be sedated during the procedure, so no pain will be felt until anesthesia wears off. If it is necessary to harvest bone from the patient's body, bone material may be retrieved from the hip or somewhere else, but this is only a small amount, which does not involve much discomfort. This bone graft material will then be used to augment the jawbone to make it more stable for an implant.
It's not necessary to go through any extensive preparations when undergoing a dental bone graft. All you really have to do is avoid eating or drinking anything for about 10 hours prior to the procedure. You should also consult with your doctor about the medications you currently take, especially if you're using any blood thinners. It will also be necessary to arrange transportation home after the procedure, because you'll probably be groggy from the anesthetic.
When a dental bone graft is executed, you can expect to receive anesthesia prior to the procedure. Your dental surgeon will then clean the affected area and make an incision in the gum line, so it can be separated from the bone. Then the bone material will be placed between two sections of bone that are intended to be fused together. The bone graft material will then be secured using a dissolvable adhesive material, or possibly a membrane with special dental screws. After this, the incision will be sewn up so your mouth can begin healing.
Once the dental bone graft has been accomplished, you will probably leave the office with gauze that has been packed closely around the incision. Your dental surgeon will provide you with instructions for changing that dressing over the next 24 hours, and you'll also probably have a prescription for antibiotics that will prevent infection. You may have to apply ice packs to manage pain and swelling, and you'll be obliged to eat soft foods for several days. You'll have to avoid eating hard or crunchy foods as well as hot liquids, and you should avoid vigorous physical activity.
It's possible that your body will reject the bone graft, and there may also be nerve damage or blood clots which form as a result of the surgery. While these rarely occur, it is more common for patients to experience a certain amount of pain and swelling in the aftermath of surgery. This can be managed either with over-the-counter pain-killers or with prescription medications, as needed. For the most part, patients will experience some level of bleeding, and possibly some difficulty with speaking or chewing for a few days afterward.
If you've been told that you may need a dental bone graft, you should contact us to arrange for a consultation today. Our highly qualified dental experts at ZircTeeth can guide you through the process and prepare you for every step in the procedure, to ensure eventual success.