Dental surgery has come a long way to ensure patients are provided what they need to have the perfect smile. One procedure that has made this possible is oral bone grafting, which allows dental implants to be placed if a patient’s jawbone doesn’t provide the proper support. But bone grafting can be used for a variety of other reasons as well. If your dentist has mentioned this procedure as a possibility for your jaw, there are a few things you should know. Let’s take a closer look at a few important questions you might be asking:

1. What is oral bone grafting?
An oral bone graft is a type of corrective jaw surgery that adds bone to the jaw if the patient’s own jaw is not strong enough to support dental implants. This typically happens when the jaw doesn’t have a tooth to replace the one that’s been lost, so it slowly creates a hollow dip in the jawbone. Once a bone graft is complete, solutions like crowns, bridges, or implants can be placed. Bone grafting is a minor outpatient procedure that is common in the United States. In fact, of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44, approximately 69% are missing at least one of their teeth. And in those Americans over the age of 74, 25% have lost all of their permanent teeth.

2. Where does the grafting material come from?
There are a few places grafting material can come from, the first is the most common, where the source for the bone graft is cadaver bone. This could include cadaver or synthetic bone as well as bovine bone. Surgeons are also able to take bone from the patient’s own jaw or sinuses. An experienced oral surgeon will decide which type of material is best to use in any specific dental implant procedure.

3. When does bone grafting need to be used?
There are many reasons a person may need an oral bone graft. Bone density may decrease if the jawbone begins to waste away due to the loss or removal of a tooth. The three most common reasons people require bone grafting are:
○ Gum disease, or other infections and diseases
○ Tooth Extractions
○ Injuries to teeth or the jaw itself
Any type of surgery can be scary. It’s important to remember that bone grafting is a minor, common procedure that can help give you the smile you’ve always wanted. Bone grafting makes dental implants and other procedures possible so patients don’t have to wear dentures or just have missing teeth. For more information on oral bone grafting, talk to your dentist today.