There are several reasons you might need oral bone grafting – but let’s not over-complicate things. Most people who need a bone graft need it for one of two reasons, and we’ll talk about those so you understand them completely.
At Brighton Dental in San Diego, we’re a full-service dental office. Dr. Paige Woods and our team can help you with just about any dental or oral health need you may have – including bone grafting. While this procedure may seem scary, there’s nothing to worry about because you’re in good hands with Brighton, the gentle dental clinic.
Bone Grafting After Tooth Extraction
Grafting bone into the empty socket left after a tooth is extracted is called a socket graft – and this procedure can prevent bone loss that often follows an extraction. Bone loss can make it difficult to wear dentures and has other health and practical disadvantages.
Your alveolar ridge and the gum tissue that’s part of it can shrink dramatically in the weeks, months and years after a tooth is removed. The daily stimulation of having teeth encourages healthy bone growth, but not having a tooth in a specific location encourages bone loss. Most bone loss following extraction happens within 3 to 6 months of the extraction and can cause both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of your ridge to shrink.
According to research and our own experience, sockets that receive bone grafts fairly quickly after a tooth extraction lose a millimeter or so less ridge height and over 2.5 millimeters less bone width. While that doesn’t sound like much, this difference can make wearing dentures easier and make it quicker to get a dental implant in the future. It could mean that bone grafting before a later implant would be unnecessary, speeding up the implant process and reducing the discomfort associated with extensive dental implant preparation.
Not every extraction requires a bone graft, but this procedure can be helpful if a significant amount of tissue is missing because of advanced gum disease or if a lot of bone is already missing from your alveolar ridge before the extraction procedure.
Bone Grafting Before Dental Implants
A second common reason for bone grafting is because you need better bone structure to provide support for a dental implant. Some of the reasons you might need a bone graft before implant surgery include:
- Genetic defects in development
- Damage from untreated periodontal disease
- Jaw damage from sports accidents, car collisions or falls
- Bone mass loss following earlier tooth extractions
- Treatment of an infected socket from recent tooth extraction
- A socket size that’s wrong for the implant type
- And more.
Whatever the reason, bone grafting can solve the issue and make you a good candidate for a dental implant. But keep in mind that grafted bone must heal for up to 6 months. During this time, the new and existing bone integrate together into a structure strong enough to support a dental implant.
In some cases, getting a socket graft immediately after an extraction can prevent the need for an additional bone graft before a dental implant is placed, but this is not always the case. Dr. Woods and our team can determine if a bone graft will be necessary before any dental implants you may be considering.
Learn more on the Brighton Dental website’s Bone Grafting page.
And learn even more by scheduling a consultation with us. We’re experts in resolving your dental concerns in the best ways possible, and we have options for every situation. If bone grafting is necessary, we can make it as easy and painless for you as possible.