The idea of a bone or gum grafting surgery may seem intimidating, but both procedures are considered minor surgeries, and are commonly used for both cosmetic purposes and to treat oral health issues.
Patients who would otherwise be unable to receive a dental implant because of inadequate bone density can have the procedure done. Jawbones that have become misshapen because of declining bone mass can be restored. Heavily receding gums that pose risks for losing teeth can be corrected. There are several situations where bone or gum grafts can be very beneficial. Read this article and explore bone and gum grafting procedure and benefits.
When Is a Bone or Gum Graft Surgery Beneficial?
Your dentist will discuss options with you, and let you know if you are a good candidate for bone or gum tissue grafts and can benefit from either dental procedure.
Securing a Dental Implant
Gum or bone grafts may be necessary before a dental implant, to ensure there is a strong enough foundation for the implant to secure fully as there needs to be sufficient bone mass and density and gum tissue for it to be successful.
Treating Gum Disease and Gum Recession
Gum grafting is an effective procedure to help when gum recession occurs. Gum recession is often due to periodontal, or gum disease, and can lead to tooth decay and loss. Healthy gums protect teeth against bacteria, stabilize teeth, and protect against tooth sensitivity. When gums begin to recede due to trauma, periodontal disease, aggressive brushing, braces, malocclusion, or other causes, a gum tissue graft can help. However, periodontal disease also leads to bone loss, so treating this may require both gum and bone grafts.
Gum graft surgery may be used as a way to treat receding and thinning gums in general for periodontal health.
Treating Bone Loss
Bone grafts may be necessary if a person is experiencing bone loss due to gum disease, tooth loss, facial trauma, or other causes.
A dental bone graft is recommended whenever loss of bone density may impact teeth. Bone grafting restores a healthy bone mass, so the jaw bone is sturdy enough to support teeth securely. Bone grafting helps prevent sagging of the jawbone and facial distortion due to bone loss.
Preventing Bone Loss
A gum or dental bone graft may also be recommended preventatively, or in other situations, such as after a tooth extraction to prevent the bone loss commonly associated with missing teeth.
In addition to these grafts being completed to treat oral health problems, dental bone grafts and gum grafts may be performed as a cosmetic surgical procedure.
Gum Graft Surgery – Grafting Procedures
This dental surgery involves placing soft tissue grafting material onto the gum line, to replace worn away or lost gum tissue. A local anaesthetic is used to minimize discomfort.
There are a variety of gum grafting techniques. The soft tissue grafts can be harvested from your cheek or the roof of your mouth, or donor tissue from a tissue bank can be used. Alternatively, pedicle grafts, where a flap of tissue is created by an incision and unfolded down onto a tooth root can be done. In severe cases, a connective tissue graft may be performed.
Gum grafting can cover exposed tooth roots, or increase overall gum thickness for stability. The procedure usually lasts anywhere from under an hour to 90 minutes, depending on the specific work being done. Covering exposed roots usually takes longer than thickening gums.
Your gum graft is placed over exposed roots or wherever it is needed, and then is stitched on. The sutures or stitches may need to be removed during a second visit, or may fall out on their own.
The healing process takes about two weeks. Patients can eat and drink again soon after the procedure, although it’s best to avoid hot or cold foods and drinks, as well as hard or crunchy foods. Brushing around the site will need to be avoided until it is healed, too. Antibacterial mouthwash may be recommended. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with sensitivity, which is normal for the first few days.
Bone Graft Surgery – Grafting Procedures
Local anesthesia is also used for bone grafting surgical procedures. This oral surgery will take from half an hour to 90 minutes, depending on the graft location and how much bone graft material needs to be moved.
The bone tissue graft material can come from your own body or a donor; synthetic materials may also be used. The material comes as powders, granules, putty or gels.
Bone grafting will vary depending on the patient’s needs. Socket preservation involves the graft being placed into a socket after tooth extraction, as a preventative measure. Ridge augmentation is used for those who have had missing teeth for a while, and the jaw bone has thinned, to enable dental implants and other treatments. A sinus lift raises up a dropped sinus area with a bone graft placed underneath. Periodontal bone grafts help with bone that has eroded around teeth because of gum infection.
The oral surgeon makes an incision in the gum, and the dental bone graft material is placed directly onto the bone. The bone minerals encourage the body to deposit new bone cells around them. A collagen membrane will be placed over top, to encourage bone repair.
Over time, the body replaces the graft with its own bone, increasing and maintaining bone volume and density. Placement of dental implants are possible at this point.
Over-the-counter painkillers and icing will help with the soreness that is normal for a few days. Soft foods, and tepid food and drink is recommended until the graft site is healed.
Orchard Park Dental performs dental bone graft and gum tissue graft procedures, and can advise you on whether one of these procedures may be right for you.