As a surgeon, I inspect the patient’s overall mouth during the exam. As dentists, we’ve all had patients who have lost lots of bone (jaw deterioration) because the surgery sites weren’t bone grafted at the time of dental extractions. If a patient needs to have one or multiple teeth taken out, they need to consider having the dentist bone graft the extraction sockets/surgery sites. This decision is important whether or not the patient is going to consider dental implants to replace those missing teeth.
Why should the bone grafting procedure be consented to and agreed upon before the patient has their teeth removed? The reason is that a well-fitting and comfortable partial or denture depends on the availability of remaining bone. Without bone grafting, patients will eventually complain about a denture or partial that slips or does not fit too well. In addition, patients do not like having choices taken away. Even if implants are not immediately placed during the time of dental extractions/tooth removal, bone grafting preserves the integrity of the jaws for better future implant placement.
The loss of bone tissue and teeth is a common factor in patients who struggle with gum disease. The weaker areas of bone are more susceptible to infection from bacteria. Dental bone grafting can turn this issue around quickly, as it provides much-needed strength to these vulnerable areas. A bone grafting procedure can also help prevent future issues, such as muscle pain in the jaw, which can stem from having weak areas of bone tissue.
When a patient is losing bone due to periodontal disease, it’s important to be proactive to help prevent future bone loss. A regular dental hygiene/recall program is necessary to help keep these patients from losing any more bone. If some of those teeth need to be removed anyway, then bone grafting with a dental implant can help restore the diseased and missing tissue.
Bone deterioration that comes from a loss of tissue or because of losing teeth can easily become a compounding issue. As the jaw weakens over time, the patient’s other teeth and the rest of their jaw become more vulnerable to further damage that will make it even harder to correct. Bone grafting can be extremely useful, even in smaller cases of bone tissue deterioration, because it stops the problems from becoming worse over time by strengthening the jaw and remaining teeth.
This is also important because when teeth are lost due to periodontal disease or trauma, the occlusion (the alignment of the jaws and teeth) can change in a negative way. This change from a stable to an unstable occlusion can contribute to further bone loss in the oral cavity.
The importance of dental bone grafting for a patient can go beyond the health benefits. As most people care at least somewhat about how they look, it can be disheartening to see one’s face begin to change and deform as a result of bone tissue loss. We have all seen how grandma’s face sinks in after she takes out her dentures and puts them in a glass. That appearance was exacerbated when the teeth were removed, and no bone grafting was done at the time. Bone grafting can help restore volume and shape to certain areas of the face and jaw, preserving the aesthetics of the patient’s face in the long term.
Arguably the top reason we perform dental bone grafting so often is that it allows us to have a better foundation for dental implants. A dental implant won’t last long if we insert it into a weaker area of bone. It may shift over time (Or literally come out) as the bone continues to degrade and could cause pain for the patient. A large number of patients require bone grafting in the area of their implant before the procedure can take place.
If bone grafting procedures aren’t your forte, or if you want to take your skills to new heights, you can take a look at the Simply Implant Institute’s upcoming extraction and bone grafting courses. In addition, you will get ample dental extraction and bone grafting experience with our core 1 program, which also includes teaching you the four types of dental implant placement procedures. They’re perfect for teaching dentists of all experience levels how to perform these procedures efficiently and effectively.