Patients who have significant damage to their teeth often have other, less visible problems too. Some may have gum disease, while others may have more severe forms of periodontal disease, often involving the bone around their teeth.
In all types of dentistry, treating the tooth means also treating the surrounding gum and bone tissues, and our practice is no different. So, when patients are referred to us for root canals, endodontic surgery or apicoectomy, or for treatments related to orofacial pain, there is always a chance that bone grafting may form part of that treatment.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting involves the surgical replacement of damaged bone with either bone that has been harvested from elsewhere, or, more commonly in modern dental practice, commercially available, biologically compatible, synthetic material.
Damaged bone is carefully cut away so that only healthy, strong bone remains, and then the new material is carefully grafted to this surface. The area is closed and sutured, and then it takes several months before the new bone material becomes replaced by newly grown jaw bone.
When Is Bone Grafting Required?
In dentistry, bone grafting is most commonly used when the treatment plan includes the use of prosthetics, like implants and bridges, but the underlying bone structure is insufficient to support the dental apparatus needed to achieve the desired results.
We do not perform restorative and prosthetic dentistry in our practice so our uses for bone grafting are usually related to bone loss during endodontic surgery, or after removal of a tooth.
Certain endodontic procedures, like apicoectomy, require us to remove damaged and infected material from below the teeth. Very often, this leaves a void in the gums and bone below the teeth. If this void is large enough, a bone graft may be required to ensure proper healing of the area.
Advanced surgical treatments like this cannot always be offered in our office, and may require an additional referral to an oral surgeon, but we can certainly assist in the diagnosis of the cause of the pain, and provide an onward referral if possible.
Is Bone Grafting Safe?
Bone grafting, particularly in a dental setting, is considered safe. The bone material itself is usually taken from bone banks, or is a specially manufactured synthetic material, so compatibility issues will never arise.
Patients who smoke, who have diabetes or who have other health conditions may take longer to heal after a bone graft, so it’s advisable to consider the medical history of your patient before deciding on their treatment plan.
While it may take some time for the area of the bone graft to heal, since there is generally less strain on these types of grafts than there would be in a limb or elsewhere in the body, most patients will heal fully with no trouble.
For more information about our bone grafting procedures, please contact us at 403-242-9952 today.