Dental Bone Grafting
What Does Bone and Gum Grafting Do?
Bone and gum grafting is necessary to build up the jaw bone or rebuild gum tissue. People who suffer from periodontal disease may need these procedures done before restorative dental treatments, like dental inserts and crowns, can be performed.
If you’ve had one tooth or several teeth missing for a long time, there’s a chance that the bone below where those teeth would have been become broken down. A breakdown in bony structure can also be caused by the following circumstances:
- Facial trauma
- Growth deformity
- Periodontal disease
- Untreated cavities
The jaw must have sufficient bone length and width to support dental implants. To regenerate bone and facilitate new growth, grafting is performed with bone tissue taken from your own body or a donor source.
Often, the tissue is taken from healthy areas of your jaw or chin. The donor’s bone is then placed, or “grafted” onto the area of your jaw that needs regeneration. Over time, it will fuse with your existing bone, and the cells will work together to create adequate tissue to support dental implants.
How is Bone Harvested?
You may decide to have a piece removed from your chin to complete the graft. An incision is made in your gum line below your bottom teeth to expose the chin. Then, a piece is removed, along with the bone marrow. The area where the bone is removed from may be filled with a bone graft material, and then the incision is closed with stitches.
The area that requires grafting will be exposed, and the graft will be placed and secured with titanium screws. Once the procedure is over, you’ll be given antibiotics and possibly pain medication to deal with any discomfort. You’ll be instructed on how to care for your grafting site to prevent disruption of the bone graft.
Bone grafting is often an outpatient procedure, and many patients have a comfortable experience using sedation dentistry.
Gum disease can cause the gum line around your teeth to recede. Over time, your gums may recede enough to expose the roots of your teeth. This also exposes nerves, which can cause discomfort.
Cold and hot foods and drinks, and even breathing cold air can be uncomfortable if your roots and nerves become exposed. Exposed roots can also elongate the tooth, giving you an older, less cosmetically appealing appearance. Additionally, some people have naturally thin gum tissue, which increases the chances for gum breakdown over time.
This procedure works to rebuild gum tissue around your teeth and make necessary activities like eating and drinking more comfortable.
How is Gum Grafting Performed?
This treatment involves removing a small section of tissue from inside your mouth, or the roof of your mouth, and layering it over the damaged areas of gum. There are several types of gum grafts.
Connective Tissue Graft
The connective tissue graft is used when there is a large area of roof exposure. The tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and sutured onto the grafting site. The roof of the mouth offers a larger area from which to take donor tissue, especially important if larger areas require grafting.
If you have thin gum tissue, a gingival graft may be performed. There doesn’t need to be root or nerve exposure before your dentist can perform a gingival graft. A small piece of tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth and sutured to the thinning area of your gums. This can be performed to several thinning sites if needed. Over time, your gums will thicken and reduce the chance for exposed roots in the future.
This graft is used if your gums have receded, but are otherwise healthy. A flap of tissue is cut, but left attached at one end, and is then moved sideways to cover exposed roots. This is an ideal graft, as the blood vessels remain in place.
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