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Bone Grafting

Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and other oral health problems affect overall dental health, causing side-effects that range from irritation to tissue loss. One of the more serious issues associated with lasting dental problems is the recession of underlying bone. This tissue depletion weakens the foundation teeth rely on to remain strong and functional. Dr. O’Connor is equipped to treat bone resorption and reverse depletion through bone grafting.

Is Getting a Bone Graft a Serious Procedure?

Although it sounds complex, receiving a bone graft is an easy procedure for your dentist. Grafting tissue requires little to no downtime beyond taking prescribed medication as recommended and caring for your smile according to provided instructions. Bone grafting is a successful procedure that restores vital oral health and creates a strong base for restorations to be added as needed. If problematic teeth need to be extracted and replaced, a bone graft promotes successful implant procedures and helps the shape of your face retain a natural aesthetic.

How the Procedure Works

Using bone tissue from your own body, or other biocompatible alternatives, bone grafts are placed at the site of the missing tooth. Bone grafts strengthen bone density and can be placed right after extraction or if teeth have been missing a while. After the graft has been added, soft tissue is restored and sealed and you will be given medication to prevent infection. It’s that simple. After the procedure, you will need to avoid touching the treatment site and choose soft foods or liquids in the first few days immediately following treatment. Daily saltwater rinses keep the area clean and aid the healing process.

If available and necessary, your own bone can be used and is typically taken from the chin, shin, or hip bone. These areas provide extraneous tissue, taking a graft here won’t change how any of these parts of your body function. If you opt out of using your own bone, safe and effective alternatives are available. Choosing outside donor tissue does not decrease the chance of success, nor will it change the steps involved in the procedure, beyond limiting the number of treatment sites.

How Bone Grafting Improves Dental Restorations

Often used in conjunction with other procedures, bone grafting provides the proper foundation for full smile restoration. Dental implants sometimes require extra support if the jaw has been affected, providing plenty of tissue for successful placement and osseointegration. Grafting also restores facial appearances, as depleted bone volume can make patients look prematurely aged. Bone grafting helps Dr. O’Connor provide you with the best treatment possible.

Ask Us about Grafting Procedures

Call us today for a consultation. If you’re looking for restorative procedures but have been told you need a bone graft first, we can help.


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Help! My Face is Changing!

The bones of your face deteriorate when you lose your teeth.

Did you know that when you have a tooth pulled you also lose the bone around it? If you lose several teeth in a row you quickly lose large quantities of the bone that kept you jaw strong and your face looking young.  The more bone you lose, the more your face sags.  If you ask the dentist to put those teeth back, odds are you will get a bridge, partial, or a denture that may even speed up the loss of bone.

How do you stop losing bone after you have lost your teeth? 

A famous dental educator has stated that there are two ways to stop bone loss: eternal rest or dental implants.  You see, when a removable dental appliance or denture sits on your gums, it may look and feel good for a while, but the bone that it sits on always goes away, quickly at first, and then slowly, but with very dramatic results.  In fact, if you are wearing a denture that was made 10 years ago, it is likely that the denture does not fit your remaining jawbone or your face.  Why do you think so many older denture patients wear dental adhesive?  Their dentures just can’t hang on to what little bone is left.

How can you avoid losing the precious bone that makes your face look young and healthy? 

Keep your teeth and gums healthy.  If you lose a tooth, have it replaced with a dental implant before you lose the bone in your face.  Dental implants restore the stress and strain to the bone in a healthy way so that it doesn’t atrophy.  While it is unfortunate to lose one of your chewing tools, it is great news that it can be replaced with a long term dental implant.  Your new tooth can be made to look and chew just like the one you were born with!

“But my tooth has been gone for a while.  The dentist didn’t offer implants as an option.  There is already a dent in my jaw where I know the bone is missing.” 

A safe, inexpensive dental CT scan can precisely show the amount of bone lost so you can get the picture and make plans to stay healthy.  Some of these areas can be restored with bone from your own mouth–a bone graft. Ouch?  Not so bad.  Sort of the same discomfort you experienced losing a tooth should be expected when having a bone graft with current techniques and medicines.  After a few months healing, a dental implant and crown can be placed into the grafted bone to restore stability and beauty.

“What happens if I ignore these areas of bone deterioration?” 

If you wait too long you can plan on wearing removable dental appliances forever.  Frankly, dentures and dental adhesive were never something I wanted for me when I got old.  I’ll take every small step I can to hold on to my teeth and the bone around my teeth, so I can chew and smile like a kid, even when I’m eighty…or a hundred!

Talk to your dentist about dental implants, bone grafting, and about how you can keep the bone of your jaws healthy.  Don’t become a “dental cripple”.  Discuss this problem with someone with training, experience, and knowledge about maintenance of your jaw bone health.