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Bone grafting can be performed in any area of the body. It is a surgical transplant procedure that involves adding new material to an area where the bone has broken or deteriorated. Over time, the body absorbs the graft material into the existing bone, which is restored to its former strength, shape, and density. Bone grafting may be performed in cosmetic surgery clinics or bone grafting clinics like Summit Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to improve the shape and contour of your face.

Bone grafting may also be necessary if you intend to receive a dental implant. You need strong bone in your jaw to hold the implant securely in place. If the bone has deteriorated, it may be insufficient to support the post. If this is the case, a graft is performed first to restore and regenerate the jaw bone in preparation for the dental implant. You will have to wait several months after the bone graft is complete before you can receive your dental implant, but many patients feel that the end result is well worth the wait.

Reasons for Decreased Bone Density of the Jaw

Many adults are affected by decreased jaw bone density. To a certain extent, it is normal as you age. However, your jaw bone density can decrease at an abnormally fast rate if certain conditions are present. These conditions include the following:

  • Birth defects
  • Tumors
  • Sinus abnormalities
  • Trauma
  • Periodontal disease

One of the most common causes of jaw bone deterioration is teeth that are missing, whether they have been lost or extracted. Teeth may be extracted due to irreparable damage caused by decay or injury. Many people decide on dental implants to replace teeth that have been extracted or lost due to trauma, but when a tooth is missing, it often causes bone loss. As time goes by, the bone loss can increase and affect the jaw, making a bone graft necessary before a dental implant is possible.

Types of Bone Grafts

Grafts are categorized based on the type of material they use. Grafting material can be taken from several different sources:

  • Allograft: Bone material taken from a human cadaver
  • Xenograft: Bone material taken from an animal, such as a cow.
  • Alloplast: Synthetic graft material.
  • Autograft: Bone taken from elsewhere within your body.

For autograft of your jaw, your surgeon typically harvests the graft material from the ramus of your mandible. This is the structure that sticks up perpendicularly from the rest of your lower jaw and connects to your skull right in front of your ear.

Each type of graft has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, autografts have a high rate of success because the bone tissue is taken from your own body, but it requires a second surgical site with the potential to become infected if proper care is not taken. Allografts and xenografts have similar success rates to autografts, while alloplast is rarely performed.

Things To Expect After Bone Graft Surgery

After your bone graft surgery, you will be placed on some dietary restrictions in order to allow your mouth to heal. Specifically, you will only be able to eat soft foods during the healing process. You may also experience uncomfortable side effects after the surgery, which can include the following:

  • Minor bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Bruising of the skin or gums

These effects should dissipate fairly quickly after your surgery. If they do not, you should contact your oral surgeon right away. As with any type of surgery, be sure to follow both the preoperative and postoperative instructions you are given. Doing so will help you recover more quickly and prevent complications.

Specialists in Bone Grafting and Dental Implants

When you think of cosmetic surgery in Michigan, think Summit Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Bone grafting may be the first step in restoring your smile with dental implants. For questions or to schedule a consultation, fill out our contact form.