About five million people undergo a dental implant procedure each year. Many of these procedures require bone grafts to improve implant retention and overall bone health. If you’ve neglected your teeth or dealt with a major dental illness, you might need a bone graft to get that perfect smile.
Not a lot of patients know how the bone grafting process works. Patients often come to their procedures knowing about implants but not the necessary setup. What happens during a dental bone graft?
Here, we’ll clear the air and tell you all about it.
Why You Might Need Dental Bone Grafts
Whenever an illness or injury damages the teeth, a bone graft may be the right choice. While some teeth can be removed with minimal issue, a removed tooth often necessitates a graft.
Some grafts occur as a preventive measure. Some dentists will perform a bone graft after a tooth extraction to reduce the chance that the new socket will cause other teeth to sink.
Infections can also reduce the strength and size of a jaw bone. In cases like these, a bone graft can be used to re-stabilize an intact tooth. A case like this would fall under the penumbra of periodontal care.
What to Expect
Before the procedure, your dentist or oral surgeon will examine and scan your teeth. This helps your professional figure out how much bone loss you’ve experienced. They will use this data to create a personalized treatment plan.
If you’ve ever had a simple extraction, filling, or other simple dental surgery performed, the bone graft process will feel similar. Your dentist will treat the area with one or more numbing agents and then perform the procedure.
In this case, the dentist makes an incision in your gums and exposes the jawbone. After making sure the area stays clean and sterile, the dentist fills the space with bone graft material. Sometimes the dentist will add a membrane over the graft.
Once that’s done, your surgeon will stitch your gums back up, closing the hole.
For the first few days after the procedure, expect pain similar to a bruise. You may also see bruising, discoloration, and swelling around the surgical site. You may feel debris from the surgery working its way out of your gums in the form of sand-like granules.
Depending on your surgeon and the details of your procedure, you may receive painkillers, antibiotics, or both. Be sure to take your medication as directed, as this will encourage healing.
Full integration of the repair will usually take at least three months. If you notice long-term pain or drainage from the site, contact your dentist to ensure everything’s going smoothly. You can get dental implants or other restorations after things have healed.
Build Your Smile Back
Bone grafts can help stop your teeth from drifting and provide a scaffold for future restorations. While the procedure isn’t as well-understood by most as fillings or extractions, it doesn’t need to stay unfamiliar or scary.
Looking to make more changes to your smile? Take a peek in our health and beauty section for more dental articles.
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