The loss of bone structure is a common result of atrophy where missing teeth are not replaced quickly. Traditional dentures do little to prevent this loss. Dental implants help retain bone structure, but once it's gone it needs help to regrow even before implants can be placed. Bone grafting is one way to regrow bone, and Periodontist Dr. Karl A. Rose can perform your bone graft surgery.
The first affect of bone loss is that it can make it impossible to place dental implants. The implants need sufficient bone structure to anchor to in order to support a crown or a set of fixed dentures. Even one missing tooth can cause bone to abate which can affect the stability of adjacent teeth. If the bone in the jaw is left to continue diminishing, it can completely alter the shape of your face, visibly flattening your jaw.
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is the best way to maintain a healthy bone structure in your jaw. Teeth keep your jawbone healthy by stimulating the area as you chew and talk. Once teeth aren’t in place they don’t stimulate the area, and your bone starts to shrink away. In fact, the bone around missing teeth can resorb as much as 25% within the first year after tooth are lost. If dental implants are placed soon after a tooth is lost, the bone loss is reduced dramatically. If dental implants aren't installed soon, a bone graft surgery or bone regeneration treatment may be necessary before the implants can be placed. For more serious damage to the jawbone from injury or oral cancer, more extensive reconstructive surgery may be needed.
Grafting bone in your jaw can stimulate regrowth of healthy bone structure and prepare your mouth for dental implants.
Washington DC Periodontist Dr. Karl A. Rose will begin by evaluating your bone structure using 3D imaging. He'll also check for signs of periodontal disease, which may need to be addressed before bone grafting surgery can be done. If Dr. Rose determines that you need a bone graft, the first step is to decide of a grafting material. A graft can come from your own body, frozen tissue from a cadaver, a cow, or a synthetic material. Dr. Rose will carefully place the graft and suture the soft tissue to promote proper healing. He will closely monitor the healing process, making sure your body incorporates the graft and uses it to regrow natural bone tissue. This process can take a few months to complete.
When Dr. Rose confirms that your bone structure is sufficient to support a dental implant, he will drill into the new bone and snugly place the titanium post. Depending on the technique used, it may be another few months before a prosthetic tooth or denture can be placed. Some patients may be able to have a prosthetic placed in the same visit as the implant is installed.
Although bone grafting might seem intimidating, most patients report that grafting feels just like any other dental procedure. Dr. Rose can prescribe something to help with pain, but most patients manage for the first day or two with just an over-the-counter analgesic.
If you would like to consider dental implants, you'll first need to come in to determine if your jaw structure is healthy enough to support the implants. Dr. Rose will evaluate your oral health and thoroughly explain your treatment options including whether you will need bone grafting. Contact us at Periodontal & Implant Associates of Greater Washington today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Rose. We are proud to serve Chevy Chase and Greater Washington, DC. We're always happy to meet new patients.