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When you lose teeth, several changes begin to occur in your mouth. Tooth loss affects your smile, your ability to eat, and your speech. Tooth loss also has a hidden consequence – loss of bone mass in your jaw. When you lose teeth, your jawbone begins to resorb and grow weaker. As a result, your jaw begins to change shape. The healthy teeth that remain within your mouth begin to shift out of their natural alignment, throwing off your bite. Your facial features sink in, and wrinkles begin to form, causing you to look older. Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing teeth that can also protect your jawbone and prevent bone loss. However, for them to fuse properly with your jaw, there must be sufficient bone mass in your jaw, to begin with. At Stamford Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Arts, we can restore missing bone mass, making dental implants possible, with bone grafting.
What is a Bone Graft?
A bone graft is a type of oral surgical procedure that is designed to restore bone mass to your jaw. This is done using bone from elsewhere in your body (usually your hip, tibia, or your jaw), a donor, or a bone graft substitute. As you heal from surgery, your existing bone fuses to the graft material, restoring both shape and strength to your jaw.
Types of Bone Graft
Everyone’s bone graft needs are different. Before you undergo bone graft surgery, we will do a consultation, which includes a thorough oral exam and X-rays. Based on your specific needs, we will be able to determine the best options for your particular procedure. Types of bone graft include:
Your Bone Graft Procedure
Before undergoing a bone graft procedure, we first have a consultation with you, during which time we assess the condition of your teeth (if you have any remaining) and gums. We take X-rays, which allow us to assess your jawbone and create a customized treatment plan. If you have a condition such as gum disease, it will need to be treated with surgery.
On the day of your procedure, we begin with a local anesthetic. If necessary, we can also provide you with sedation, which will allow you to relax and remain calm throughout your surgery. We make incisions in your gums to expose the bone underneath. For Autogenous grafts, we will also use a local anesthetic at the donor site (the region of your body where we are harvesting bone tissue), make incisions, and remove the bone we need. The donor material is packed into the weakened areas of your jaw, and then the gums are stitched closed. We will follow up with you to make sure that you are healing properly. Once you have fully healed, the process for implants can then begin.
With a bone graft, we can restore the bone mass necessary to support dental implants, helping to restore both aesthetics and function to your mouth. For more information, or to schedule your appointment, call Stamford Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Arts today at (203) 325-2661.