The Miracles of Bone Grafting

A Dental Implant is a surgical process where the jaw bone interfaces with additional support like a crown or bridge to give an artificial tooth in the place of a missing tooth. It involves two pieces. A metal cylindrical object that is placed in the bone as a root to the bone and an Abutment which is screwed on this object on which the crown is placed to give it the look of a tooth.

Jaw Bone Graft is inevitable if the patient has a thin or soft jaw structure and cannot support independent Implants in its place. In a Dental Bone Graft, the surgeon takes a part of a bone from other areas of the mouth or another body part and grafts it in the desired bone. The graft creates new strong bone which helps further in dental implant. In some cases, it may take weeks or months for the jaw to be ready for an implant after a grafting whereas in other cases grafting and implantation might be done in a single sitting. Dental Bone Grafting is done not only to restore the bone in its previous form but also to maintain the jaw structure after tooth extraction.

After the Bone Graft Oral Surgery, the collagen falls out in a week or two and the sutures dissolve in two to three weeks leading to natural fallout. Then the position is reexamined after three months to ensure that the sufficient bone has grown for an implant to take place.

Types of Bone Grafts:

Bone Grafts primarily are of three types.

  • Autograft: In this procedure, the bone needed for grafting is taken from within the patient’s body. If the mouth conditions are good, it can be taken from the mouth itself; however, if they are not suitable, then the bone may be extracted from the patient’s hip, rib, pelvis, wrist or shin.
  • Allograft: In this procedure, artificial bone developed in a laboratory or taken from a deceased donor or a cadaver bone that has been cleanly restored in a Tissue Bank is used for grafting. This method has become more popular in present times as it is quite safe. Though the best bet is always the bone taken from within one’s body.
  • Xenograft: In this procedure, Cow bone is used and thus no secondary donor is required. It is also useful if you are not comfortable with the extraction of a bone from your other body parts. However, it is not that popular as the jaw is beefed up with a bovine bone.

Traditional grafts or Auto grafts are successful because they use the patient’s tissue. However, synthetic grafts or Allografts are more popular in present times because they not only offer similar success rates but also minimalize the risk of transfer of disease associated with grafts as they are using synthetic materials. The process is almost pain-free as long as the patient is using the antibiotics, whereas, in some cases, pain-relieving medication is given as well. The recovery time completely depends on the size and kind of defect that is being treated for a bone graft. The patient’s recovery might take from two weeks to three months; however, the bone takes at least three months or longer to heal itself.

After the surgery, the dentist recommends fluids like water, milk or juices for the first 24hours. Later on, something soft and cold is recommended by chewing away from the graft area. It is advisable not to eat or drink anything hot on the first day as the gums may bleed. Even use of straws is restricted as they might result in more bleeding. Swelling is a natural process after the surgery. Ice packs can be effective only for the first 24hours. After 36hours of surgery, however, you may apply moist heat on the sides of the face to reduce swelling.

Though an uncomplicated process, the patient is advised to inquire in totality before going for Bone Grafts.