Bone Grafting

If you’ve suffered from a trauma to bones of the jaw or a defect affecting the integrity of the jawbone, then bone grafting may be necessary.

What is bone grafting?

Bone grafting is the process by which fractures or holes in bone are “filled” with new bone or material. This aids the body in healing the area.

Who needs bone grafting?

This procedure is reserved only for severe cases. Usually, a candidate for bone grafting would be someone who has been treated for bone cancer, was born with a defect causing holes in the bones, or has suffered from a previous trauma to the bone that has not properly healed. Additionally bone grafting is usually done after an extraction to preserve the architecture of the jaw bone.

How does bone grafting work?

The matrix of the bone is composed largely of collagen, and bones contain four different cell types, all of which are important in the healing and strengthening process. There are three distinctly different types of bone grafting. The first, osteogenesis, works by forming new bones with the cells that are present in the graft. It gives the body material to work with and allows it to make new bone matter on its own. The second, osteoconduction, allows new bone to be formed on the framework set in place by the graft. Finally, there is osteoinduction. This process converts cells that are unable to create bone into cells that are capable of repairing bone structure, through a chemical process.

What is involved in a typical bone graft?

You will be placed under anesthesia while the surgery is performed. The actual surgical procedure varies depending upon the severity of the trauma, but an incision will be made that allows Dr. Andres to place the graft. In most cases bone can be obtained from a tissue bank, or a synthetic material can be used. It is usually held in place with screws or pins, and the incision is closed with stitches.

What can I expect during recovery?

Recovery time varies widely and it largely dependent upon the size and complexity of the graft. In general, you can expect discomfort for the first week, and strenuous activities may be restricted for a few months. Your dentist will provide you with specific instructions regarding your recovery and aftercare.