Bone grafts are needed if areas of the jawbone have atrophied or the structure is weak. If for instance you have a missing tooth and are wanting to replace it with a dental implant, then if the jaw has atrophied, a bone graft may be needed. Atrophy of the jaw bone is usually caused by missing teeth, so be sure to have an implant placed soon after losing a tooth.
Other health or physical conditions can also cause bone loss or atrophy. No matter the cause, this loss of bone can make chewing, biting, or even speaking more difficult. With severe bone loss, the look of a person’s face can change and other negative side effects can occur.
With a bone grafting procedure, new bone is placed where loss has occurred and the graft stimulates new bone growth, which strengthens the bone in the area. For the graft, bone may be taken from another part of the body or a synthetic bone material can be used.
Be sure to keep your teeth strong and healthy to avoid the need for bone grafts. As long as teeth are in place and functioning properly, the jaw bone remains strong. It’s when teeth fall out or are pulled that the jaw bone loses the functionality of support it once had and begins to weaken.
If you have missing teeth and fear this may lead to deterioration of the jaw bone, consider a dental implant immediately. Unlike dentures or bridges that sit on the surface, an implant mimics a natural tooth and can promote bone growth in the area as the implant heals, preventing the future need for a bone graft.