Bone loss can occur as the result of gum disease or after one or more teeth have been lost and not replaced. If the bone loss is allowed to continue, additional teeth could be lost, and the shape of the jawline and face could be affected. To prevent this, your dentist at Golden Family Dentistry may recommend a bone graft. This procedure helps to reverse the damage and can encourage the body to produce new bone in the affected area.
Periodontal Disease and Bone Loss
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is caused by bacteria that have infected the gums. Often the result of poor oral hygiene, the bacteria can cause inflammation and tenderness in the gums in an early stage called gingivitis. This stage is the easiest to treat. If the condition is left to progress into periodontitis, the bacteria and toxins can start to invade the areas below the gum line, into the tissue beneath the teeth. There, it can start to break down the bone, causing the teeth to loosen and possibly fall out. It is best to prevent periodontal disease with good oral hygiene practices, but when necessary, a bone graft can take place to reverse the effects of the disease.
Types of Bone Grafts
There are a few different types of bone grafts, which depend on the source of the material used.
· Autograft: the graft used is your own bone; it is usually taken from the hip bone or the back of the jaw
· Allograft: also human bone but taken from a donor
· Xenograft: bone taken from an animal, usually a cow
· Alloplast: graft made using synthetic material that contains calcium, phosphorous, and hydroxylapatite
Your dentist at Golden Family Dentistry will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each with you before selecting the most appropriate material for your procedure.
The bone graft procedure requires surgery, so some form of sedation will be used. Your dentist will fold back the gums in the affected area and clean it of any infected gum tissue, bacteria-covered calculus, and rough tooth surfaces. The bone graft will then be put in place, and the gum tissue stitched closed over it. It will take several months for the graft to fuse with your jawbone completely, but it should work with your body to produce new bone, improving your chances of keeping your natural teeth.