Dental implants may be a good solution if you have lost all or part of your jawbone. Our oral surgeons use advanced bone grafting techniques to help rebuild the bone in your mouth and prepare you for surgery. Learn more about bone grafting at Carolinas Centers for Oral & Facial Surgery and how we can help you get your smile back.
A bone graft uses granulated material in a specific area of the body to promote new bone growth. In oral surgery, bone grafting rebuilds bone in the jaw and is a common first step for many dental implant patients.
When a tooth is missing and not replaced, the loss does not stop at the tooth. Over time, the bone underneath deteriorates. While many patients with varying degrees of bone loss are candidates for dental implants, those with insufficient bone may require a bone graft to rebuild the lost bone and successfully support an implant.
The bone grafting material may be sourced from a bank (donor bone), or your own bone may be used. Synthetic material is another option. Your oral surgeon will review your options, including your options for anesthesia, during your consultation appointment.
Types of Bone Grafting Procedures
Bone grafts restore the quality and quantity of bone in the jaw. The type of bone grafting procedure you need depends on the location where new bone is needed, severity of bone loss, and facial anatomy, among other factors.
- Socket Preservation. Immediately after a tooth extraction, an oral surgeon can place bone grafting material into the empty tooth socket. This helps to ensure the quality of bone in the area is sufficient for a future dental implant. This procedure is also known as a ridge augmentation.
- Sinus Lift. The bony area that separates the maxillary sinuses and the upper molars is very thin. When teeth are missing near this area, the amount of bone may be insufficient to support a dental implant. A sinus lift raises the sinus floor and creates a thicker separation between the sinus and the upper jaw. Once healed, a dental implant can be placed.
- Ridge Augmentation. The alveolar ridge is the bone that supports the upper and lower arches of teeth. Ridge augmentation may be performed one area after a tooth extraction (socket preservation) or the entire ridge may require more height/width.
- Nerve Repositioning. The inferior alveolar nerve is found in the lower jaw and supplies feeling to the lower lip and chin. If it is determined that a dental implant may damage this nerve, repositioning before implant placement may be an option. Since this surgical procedure is high-risk, other options are usually considered first.
Carolinas Center for Oral & Facial Surgery performs the full scope of bone grafting procedures. Our specialists welcome patients of all ages and will help you find the right treatment option for you. Your oral surgeon will complete a thorough oral evaluation and assess your bone quality and facial structure with X-rays and 3D imaging. We look forward to meeting you and providing you with an exceptional experience.
There are three main choices for anesthesia
Local anesthesia provides numbness directly where it is administered. It does not affect consciousness, so the patient remains awake while the feelings of discomfort are eliminated. Local anesthesia is commonly used for minor procedures.
Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mild sedative that the patient inhales to alleviate feelings of anxiety. It does not cause the patient to lose consciousness. It is often used together with local anesthesia.
IV sedation is commonly used for moderate to extensive oral or facial surgery procedures. This type of sedation is administered directly into the patient’s vein. Since amnesia (forgetfulness) is a common side effect of the medication, most patients who use IV sedation do not remember their procedure.
Comfort and Recovery After Your Treatment
Depending on the extent of your bone graft, your recovery can take anywhere between two weeks and three months. During this time, it is normal to experience some soreness and discomfort. To maintain your comfort, your doctor may suggest OTC pain medication like Tylenol® or Ibuprofen, along with antibiotics to help reduce the risk of infection.
Following your bone graft procedure, your surgeon will provide a list of aftercare instructions that foster optimal healing and recovery. This list will include what you can and cannot eat after the surgery, how long you must avoid strenuous exercise, steps for keeping the bone graft area clean and dry, and other helpful information.
One of the most critical aftercare recommendations is to avoid smoking. Smoking will slow your body’s healing ability and affect your recovery timeline.
We’re Here For You
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons are excited to help you improve the health of your jawbone and smile with bone grafting. If you have any questions about this advanced procedure, please contact us at (704) 799-3555. When you are ready, schedule a consultation to get started.