Just the sound of the phrase “bone graft” can cause fear in the mind of dental patients. This is probably because it sounds like a big deal, and not something people typically expect to deal with when thinking about their oral health.
Dental bone grafting isn’t as scary as it first sounds, and it helps make possible treatments that have a positive impact on long-term oral health.
Why Bone Matters
Bone plays an essential role in the mouth. Your jawbone keeps the teeth in place and the teeth provide support to the bone in the jaw. If you lose a tooth, the bone below it is no longer supported, and begins to erode. That’s why it’s important to get a dental implant or a bridge to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible; you don’t want to leave your bone without support. A bone graft can make treatment possible if you’ve already lost some bone mass and are hoping for dental implants or a bridge to replace missing teeth.
How a Bone Graft Helps
The surgeon will perform the procedure in office, and the patient typically is under IV sedation, along with a local anesthetic applied to the area where the surgeon will be working. Once the oral surgery is complete, the surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and pain medication, as well as antibacterial mouthwash to keep the mouth germ-free and prevent infection. Patients need to take good care of the treated area and the entire mouth as the incisions heal. Complete healing may take between three to six months, at which time the implant or bridge may be inserted into the grafted area. The benefits of these procedures are worth the time and effort because they can help patients maintain a healthy mouth and smile, and prevent additional bone and tooth damage.