Teeth are interesting living structures. In addition to tolerating an incredible amount of force when biting and chewing, the teeth also act as energy conductors of sorts. When you bite and chew, the energy created transfers down through the teeth into the jawbone. This energy triggers the jawbone to continually rebuild its cells, keeping the bone healthy and strong.
When a tooth or teeth are lost the jawbone beneath them no longer receives that energy and it begins to deteriorate. If this process is allowed to progress, future placement of dental implants can be compromised due to lack of the necessary amount of bone mass. In these situations, Dr. Moskowitz uses bone augmentation to build the jawbone back up to a degree where it can accept an implant.
What is bone augmentation?
Bone augmentation, also known as bone grafting, sounds like a dreadful procedure, but it is pretty straightforward. Baltimore Dentist, Dr. Moskowitz uses demineralized, sterile human bone granules for the augmentation. They are simply packed down into the tooth socket or area being built up. Over the course of several months, the bone granules integrate with the surrounding bone, adding mass and height to the jawbone. Now the area has enough bone mass to support a dental implant.
How is bone augmentation done?
How Dr. Moskowitz performs bone augmentation depends to a degree on the amount of bone loss. If a tooth has just been removed, the tooth socket may be immediately packed with a small amount of human bone granules, a protective collagen membrane is placed over the granules, and the incision closed. This procedure won’t add any time to your minor recovery after extraction.
In cases where the tooth or teeth have been missing for a couple years or more, there is likely to be more bone loss. In these cases, a more involved bone graft will be necessary. To do this, Dr. Moskowitz opens the gums in the area of the missing tooth or teeth with a small incision. He then prepares the bone surface and uses demineralized bone graft granules to build up the area. He may include some of the patient’s own bone to ensure the graft is successful. This is often taken from the jawbone in the area of the wisdom teeth. He only shaves off tiny granules and adds them to the sterile human bone granules. Again, a special membrane is placed over the graft and the incision closed.
In cases of severe bone loss, the procedure is the same as above, but a block of bone may be needed. It is taken from another part of the jaw, the hip, or the tibia. It may be anchored into place using specialized bone screws or plates. Bone granules are added to enhance the graft. These cases with severe bone loss can be complicated on the upper jaw, as the maxillary sinuses may be involved.
What is the benefit of having my jawbone augmented?
The above-mentioned bone augmenting methods may seem involved and even a bit scary. But the reality is they are necessary if the patient wants to have the missing teeth replaced with dental implants. Not replacing the missing teeth will simply lead to more and more bone loss, and can eventually lead to the jawbone collapsing inward. At this point, without serious bone augmentation, not only are implants out of the question, but the patient likely will no longer be able to wear dentures either.
Bone augmentation allows the patient to regain a normal smile through use of dental implants or implant-supported dentures.
What will recovery from bone augmentation be like?
The degree of augmentation directly affects your recovery. If the bone granules were placed into the socket when the tooth was extracted your recovery will be no different than from a standard tooth extraction. It will be quite easy.
For more involved augmentation, you will have several sutures across the incision. It’s important to not pull back your lips or cheeks to examine the area, as this places undue pressure on the sutures and will cause them to widen and potentially expose the bone. You may also have a periodontal pack placed over the surgical site. This pack is pink in color and is impregnated with antibiotic to protect the surgical site. This packing usually will be left in place for 7-10 days.
There will be pain and swelling. This will correspond to the size of your incision and the degree of grafting. It will decrease day by day.
Full recovery of the bone will take up to four months. At that point, your jawbone will have enough mass to accept a dental implant.
Schedule A Consultation
To learn more about bone augmentation and reconstruction, call (410) 744-6088 to schedule a consultation. Baltimore Periodontics Lasers & Dental Implants serves Baltimore, Catonsville, and surrounding areas in Maryland.