Like every part of your body, bone is continually regenerating itself, creating new cells as others die away. The movement and adaptability of bone can impact your jaw both positively and negatively. Bone adaptability is helpful when orthodontists use braces to move teeth, but it can have negative effects if an adult loses a tooth.
When an adult loses a tooth or has periodontal disease the jaw bone shrinks around it. If the jaw bone shrinks, bone grafting needs to be added to the jaw before proceeding with the tooth replacement. Bone grafting builds the jaw bone back up, which gives the replacement tooth a natural appearance.
Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure done at a dentist office. The dentist or periodontist will make a small incision to reveal your jaw bone, then the grafting material will be added. The bone grafting material will help your jaw produce new bone cells.
Bone grafting can normally be done in a dental office. For help finding a local dental professional, search for a dentist near you.
Signs You May Need Bone Grafting
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease or have missing teeth, you may notice your jaw bone shrinking where a healthy tooth once was. If you are missing a tooth, a shrinking jaw bone may look like an indent in your jaw where the tooth was, rather than straight across. If you have periodontal disease you may notice your gums receding, your teeth looking longer and the roots of your teeth becoming exposed.
Why is bone grafting needed?
Shrinking bone is caused by the adaptability of bone. It could specifically be caused by periodontal disease or losing a tooth. Bone grafting is needed not only for cosmetic purposes, but also to keep a healthy tooth in place, whether real or an implant. Having healthy teeth held in place by a strong, healthy jaw is important for everyday tasks like eating and speaking.
How to Keep Your Jaw Healthy
To prevent needing a bone graft, take good care of your smile by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Fight periodontal disease with regular cleanings or scaling and root planing (if necessary). Having healthy teeth and gums play a pivotal role in having a healthy jaw.
All of these practices are extremely important, but some bone grafting is unavoidable if a tooth is lost due to injury or decay. If the goal is to replace a missing tooth, bone grafting may be necessary to best fit a dental implant. A dental implant will not fit correctly in the jaw if there is a lack of bone, which means grafting is the best option.
Who Performs the Bone Grafting Procedure?
Typically, a bone grafting surgery can be done in a dental office, but in some cases, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist or oral surgeon. To find a dental office near you, visit our locations page.