You probably don’t put much thought into your jawbone – but this important structure needs to be strong and intact for the health of your teeth, your mouth, and, indeed, for the health of your whole body. A bone graft can help to keep your jawbone healthy.
Why would anyone need a bone graft?
A healthy jawbone is important to keep teeth firmly in place, but teeth help to keep the jawbone healthy as well. The normal action of chewing signals the jawbone to get rid of old cells and keep creating new bone cells. If you are missing a tooth (or a few teeth), this can disrupt the process, and the jawbone may start to deteriorate.
Dental implants and bridges are a great option to replace missing teeth – however, both of these options require a strong jawbone. If your jawbone is too weak to serve as an anchor for a dental implant, a bone graft is the solution. A bone graft (bone from another source that is placed in the jaw) encourages new bone to grow, and after a while the graft and your bone merge together.
What are the different kinds of bone grafts?
Your dentist may get graft material from your own body, a human donor, or an animal bone, or it may be a graft created from a material such as hydroxyapatite.
For the procedure, which typically takes less than 2 hours, you will be given local anesthesia. Your dentist will make an incision in your jaw, graft the new material into the bone, and then close the incision. If you are getting a dental implant, you will have to wait for at least a few months so that your jawbone can become strong enough to hold your new tooth.
Patients report that the pain can be managed with ice packs and over-the-counter pain medication, and that the pain only lasts for a couple of days.
Although it sounds quite complex, a bone graft is actually a very simple, very common, very safe procedure. If you are missing teeth it can be an important step toward good oral health. Call Dr. Samuel Jirik’s office in Cabot, Arkansas, at (501) 843-9561, to discuss a bone graft today!