Is Bone Grafting Necessary After Tooth Extraction?
Whether the cause of your problems was trauma or tooth decay, tooth extraction is sometimes the best solution for preserving a patient’s oral health. However, removing teeth can impact a person’s wellbeing in other ways. Bone grafting is an excellent solution to help protect dentition and prepare an individual’s smile for future restorative care. Here’s why.
Why Do You Need Bone Grafting?
You wouldn’t know it from looking at your teeth, but every part of your smile plays a critical role in preserving your oral health. Below the surface, teeth roots provide valuable stimulation to the supporting jawbone, which in turn maintains your bite position and ability to chew, speak, and much more.
When teeth are missing, the jaw loses this important stimulation. When combined with the inability to bite and chew, the jawbone can begin to degrade and shrink. This opens the door to a number of other potential health issues, which can require much more extensive treatment. Bone grafting, or the placement of donor tissue along the deteriorated area, can help reinforce the structural integrity of your smile while preparing your dentition for future treatments such as dental implants.
Exploring Different Bone Grafting Techniques
Different oral health scenarios call for different bone grafting solutions. Thanks to innovations in modern oral surgery, patients have a number of advanced bone grafting options that can be tailored to meet their needs. Depending on where teeth are missing as well as each patient’s long-term treatment strategy, our Austin, TX oral surgeon may recommend one of the following popular grafting solutions:
Typically recommended if the original tooth is still in place, socket grafts help limit potential jawbone deterioration by immediately adding graft material into the space left after a tooth is extracted. This helps maintain bone stimulation while also supporting bone fusion with the grafted tissue.
Block Bone Graft
In some cases, patients have to wait before bone grafting can be completed. This disruption in stimulation can cause the surrounding bone tissue to deteriorate, ultimately requiring more grafting material in order to rebuild the jaw. Block bone grafts refer to procedures in which a small “block” of tissue is taken from the patient’s chin or lower jaw and placed in the deficient area. Over the recovery period, the surrounding bone tissue accepts the grafted tissue and fuses to it – creating a strong and healthy foundation for dental implants.
Sinus Lift Graft
Missing teeth from the upper jaw can have secondary consequences for an individual’s overall health. As the surrounding bone tissue gradually deteriorates, the bone separating the oral cavity from the nose becomes thinner. This can make implant placement more difficult without a sinus lift graft (sinus augmentation). During this procedure, an experienced oral surgeon will delicately lift the sinus membrane and place the bone grafting material between the sinus membrane and bone. Once the grafted material has fused to the upper jawbone, patients can proceed with further restorative care.
Choosing the Right Materials
Modern oral surgery techniques have also brought along new types of grafting material. While each individual’s unique oral health conditions will dictate the appropriate bone grafting material, patients have many options to choose from:
Xenograft tissue is bone tissue taken from an animal source, often bovine. This type of bone grafting material has a long and successful surgical history. Although xenografts have not been shown to directly stimulate bone production, surrounding bone tissue will still successfully adhere to the tissue.
This form of synthetic material also is a popular option, particularly for patients who cannot provide their own bone grafts or are unable to tolerate xenografts. Readily accessible and commonly used in surgery, alloplast grafts have no risk of disease transmission, making them an excellent option for vulnerable patients. However, the synthetic material will not stimulate bone tissue development.
Autografted tissue is tissue taken from one part of the patient’s body and grafted to another. Since it’s coming from the same patient, autografts have high tolerability – most patients are able to accept the grafted tissue easily, and the use of your own bone can help stimulate healthy bone development. However, this type of graft can require multiple procedures – first to harvest the tissue and then to place the graft.
Similar to autografts, allografts leverage human bone tissue to repair bone deterioration. However, in the case of allografts, donor tissue is coming from other individuals, not the patient. The best matches typically come from relatives of the patient to ensure the bone tissue accepts the graft. While allografts may not stimulate a patient’s cells to produce bone tissue, they can heal small defects on their own and readily fuse to the surrounding bone tissue.
Learn More at Hill Country Oral Surgery
At Hill Country Oral Surgery, our goal is to help our patients put their best smile forward. To learn more about the benefits of bone grafting post-teeth extraction or to explore your options for bone grafting, call Hill Country Oral Surgery at 512-327-7233. Our expert oral surgeons, Dr. Cavaretta and Dr. Rasmussen, are here to help you achieve optimal oral health!