Dental bone grafting is performed to build up the jawbone. In cases where the jaw bone is damaged or receded, bone grafting is performed as a preparation step prior to a dental implant or restoration. These restorations require sufficient jaw bone volume for optimal chances of success.
Jaw bone volume can be insufficient for a number of reasons:
- Periodontal (gum) disease and infections – progressively attacks gum tissue and will eventually damage the jaw bone if left untreated. Other infections can also diminish bone.
- Tooth extraction – it is estimated that following a tooth extraction, the patient loses 40-60% of the bone surrounding the tooth site within three years.
- Injury – blows to the jaw or other dental injuries can cause the jaw to recede.
Bone grafting treatment can take several months to complete. It is performed as an outpatient surgery (no overnight stay.) Typically, bone is harvested from another part of the patients’ body. The extraction and grafting sites are numbed with local anesthetic, then small incisions are made to access the bone. The bone is harvested, then anchored to the grafting site. Both sites are closed with sutures. The new bone will eventually fuse with existing bone and encourage new bone growth.