Everything You Need to Know About Bone Grafting

You have a few treatment options when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Here, our Pembroke and Deep River dentists address common questions about bone grafts and how they can be used to help manage your oral health.

What is a bone graft?

Think of a bone graft as similar to placing a patch over a hole in the ground. The spackle is made of bone fragments, which are put into the hole left by the tooth and covered with a sterile bandage called a membrane. This membrane is designed to keep the area safe and clean. The body then dissolves the bone parts and integrates them into the person's own bone, strengthening them. 

What happens if you don't get a bone graft after an extraction?

While the bone will repair itself in time, it will do in a unique way. This means that the walls surrounding your tooth may fall down, causing you to lose the height of your bones. 

How long does a bone graft need to heal before an implant?

In an ideal world, the bone graft and membrane would be placed at the same time the extraction is performed. To be strong enough to hold a dental implant, the bone graft typically needs to be in place for at least four months before it's able to support the implant. While that is healing, there's a lot of work to be done in labs for about a month. This is to check that the colour of your teeth match and blend together, so you may need to return for more fittings. 

Can you hide a missing tooth (or teeth) during the bone grafting process?

Your dentist may be able to make a temporary in the form of a thin, clear mouth guard with fake teeth, or a single fake tooth on a retainer that looks like your own. Some people don't want to go to work or school with a gap in their smile, and a temporary fills in that gap. A patient would have to take it off before they ate anything because it is only for aesthetic purposes and won't help them chew or bite. People who have a missing tooth in their back teeth might not need to make a temporary.

What kind of sedation is used during bone grafts?

If a patient wants to get numb, they can likely get a shot of Novocain to numb the area. A patient might feel the dentist pushing on them, but that's about it. If an implant is being placed, a patient might feel a little vibration.

On the other end, a nurse anesthetist can give a patient general anesthesia. if the patient wants to get more sleep, they might get a pill that will make them feel like they're on the verge of going to sleep.

What can I eat after a bone graft?

After a bone graft, for the first three to four weeks, the patient should try to eat on the other side of the graft site. But hot or cold, soft or hard, anything should be fair game. Less of their tongue should come into contact with the graft, which means they should have a better chance of healing.

Can a bone graft fall out?

The bone particles are held in the jaw by the membrane, which is a sterile bandage. The bone graft can come out if the patient plays around with the area of the jaw that is covered in bone particles.

We hope we've answered your questions about bone grafting. If you have any more, feel free to contact our Pembroke and Deep River dentists.

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