Whether a tooth is extracted because of decay, falls out because of gingivitis, or is knocked out through trauma, the bone that holds the tooth in place can often become damaged through this process. What’s more, because there is no tooth in place to stimulate the bone, it can quickly begin to deteriorate. Both processes lead to structural deficiencies in the jaw that can alter appearance as well as make it hard to eat and speak.
Luckily, there’s an efficient and easy solution to this problem called bone grafting. Dr. Scherer proudly offers this technique to all patients. Through this procedure, Dr. Scherer can help restore a patient’s jaw to preserve their appearance and functionality.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a process that can repair and rebuild bone in parts of the jaw that have become deficient in patients. Dr. Scherer uses a piece of bone from another part of the body (autograft), a piece of bone from a donor (allograft), or a synthetic bone compound and places it in the deficient part of the jaw.
Over time, this graft will bond with the jaw, creating a solid and stable piece of bone.
Types Of Bone Grafts
Autogenous Bone Grafts:
Autogenous bone grafts, also known as autografts, are made from your own bone, taken from somewhere else in the body. The bone is typically harvested from the chin, jaw, lower leg bone, hip, or the skull. Autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that the graft material is live bone, meaning it contains living cellular elements that enhance bone growth.
However, one downside to the autograft is that it requires a second procedure to harvest bone from elsewhere in the body. Depending on your condition, a second procedure may not be in your best interest.
Allogenic bone, or allograft, is dead bone harvested from a cadaver, then processed using a freeze-dry method to extract the water via a vacuum. Unlike autogenous bone, allogenic bone cannot produce new bone on it’s own. Rather, it serves as a framework or scaffold over which bone from the surrounding bony walls can grow to fill the defect or void.
Xenogenic bone is derived from non-living bone of another species, usually a cow. The bone is processed at very high temperatures to avoid the potential for immune rejection and contamination. Like allogenic grafts, xenogenic grafts serve as a framework for bone from the surrounding area to grow and fill the void.
Both allogenic and xenogenic bone grafting are advantageous in that they do not require a second procedure to harvest your own bone, as with autografts. However, because these options lack autograft’s bone-forming properties, bone regeneration may take longer than with autografts, with a less predictable outcome.
Overall, the bone grafting procedure is relatively painless and can be performed right in our office. Because results from a bone grafting procedure are not immediate, patients may have to wait up to six months before the graft has fully bonded with the jaw.
Bone Graft Substitutes
As a substitute to using real bone, many synthetic materials are available as a safe and proven alternative, including:
Demineralized Bone Matrix (DBM)/Demineralized Freeze-Dried Bone Allograft (DFDBA): This product is processed allograft bone, containing collagen, proteins, and growth factors that are extracted from the allograft bone. It is available in the form of powder, putty, chips, or as a gel that can be injected through a syringe.
Graft Composites: Graft composites consist of other bone graft materials and growth factors to achieve the benefits of a variety of substances. Some combinations may include: collagen/ceramic composite, which closely resembles the composition of natural bone, DBM combined with bone marrow cells, which aid in the growth of new bone, or a collagen/ceramic/autograft composite.
Synthetic materials also have the advantage of not requiring a second procedure to harvest bone, reducing risk and pain. Each bone grafting option has its own risks and benefits. Dr. Scherer will determine which type of bone graft material is right for each of his patients.
Benefits of Bone Grafting
Bone grafting is a useful tool for many different dental applications. Dr. Scherer may recommend the procedure to patients for several reasons, as it can truly help many different dental issues. Some of the benefits of bone grafting include:
• Providing a stable base for dental implants, which are small screws that are inserted into the jaw that support replacement teeth.
• Preserving the patient’s facial structure, preventing changes in profile and appearance.
• Reversing damage caused by gum disease, including loose teeth and other gum issues.
• Fixing deficiencies from congenital birth conditions or dental traumas.
• Conserving the ridge of the jawbone, which is important if a patient wears dentures.
How Dr. Scherer Starts the Bone Grafting Process
Before jumping into any bone grafting procedure, Dr. Scherer offers each patient a consultation at his office. During this consultation, patients can confer with him about their concerns. For example, patients may be worried that their jaw is sinking in, or they may finally want to get replacement teeth to fill in the gaps in their smile. Each scenario is different, which is why Dr. Scherer provides each patient with a customized plan of care specifically for their needs.
To determine if bone grafting is the appropriate treatment, Dr. Scherer will conduct a full examination as well as take some X-rays to see how healthy the jawbone is. He will also look over the patient’s medical history to ensure they don’t have any contraindications that might make bone grafting too complicated. After ensuring the patient is a perfect fit for bone grafting, he’ll plan the initial procedure.
The bone grafting procedure will be at Dr. Scherer’s office and shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half from start to finish. Patients will be able to return home that day, though they will have a few restrictions to follow.
What Is the Recovery From Bone Grafting Like?
Recovery from a bone graft is much like the recovery for any other dental surgery. Patients will need to take it easy for the first few days after surgery to give their mouths time to heal. They may experience slight bleeding, swelling, and pain, but these symptoms can usually be controlled with pressure on the wound and over-the-counter pain medication.
It’s best not to irritate the sutures for at least the first 24 hours, so patients will need to stick to a soft foods or liquid diet. Once they do start eating more solid food, it’s best to avoid crunchy foods and only chew on the unaffected side. Additionally, drinking with a straw should be avoided, as this can dislodge the blood clot covering the wound.
Choose Bone Grafting From the Best Doctor
If you’ve recently lost a tooth and noticed changes in your jaw, bone grafting could be the solution you need to preserve the appearance and function of your mouth.
To learn more about our bone grafting services and whether they are the right approach for your situation, contact our office today by calling (630) 364-2888 to schedule your initial consultation or fill out the form below.