Bone Grafting / Dental Implant Surgery

If you are undergoing a full mouth reconstruction, Dr. Choi may recommend that you undergo bone or soft tissue grafts, both of which can be essential for the stability of your newly-restored smile. Here is what you need to know about both of these procedures.


What is bone grafting?

Bone grafting in dentistry is a fairly common procedure that replaces or reinforces bone in the jaw by taking bone from another part of your body, or artificial bone, and attaching it to the affected area. It is most often carried out ahead of dental implant surgery. This is because sufficient healthy bone in the jaw is necessary for dental implants to be successful. Patients who are found to have weak or low-density jaw bone can still benefit from implants provided they have first had a successful bone grafting procedure.

It is almost impossible to tell if someone requires bone grafts just from looking at them. However, when you lose a tooth, the bone automatically starts to deteriorate. This means that if you have had a missing tooth for a while, the bone that would ordinarily support it may have weakened. X-rays will enable us to determine the condition of the bone in your jaw and whether or not you would benefit from a grafting procedure.


What happens during bone grafting?

Bone grafting usually takes place while the patient is under a general anesthetic, meaning that you will have no awareness or pain during the procedure, and no memory of it afterward. The donor's bone is usually taken from your hip or shin, and the wound created to access the bone closed using sutures. Next, an incision will be made into your gum tissue so that it can be lifted, and the underlying area will be prepared for the graft. The grafted donor bone will be attached to the jaw and the gum tissue is closed over it using sutures.


Healing after bone grafting?

As with any surgical procedure, you will need to allow time for your wounds to heal and for the bone graft to be successful. It can take a number of months for there to be enough healthy bone in the jaw to successfully support dental implants and to add definition to your facial structure. The gum itself will also take some time to heal and you will be given very specific instructions regarding caring for your wounds during your recovery. You may find that you need to stick to a diet of soft foods for a few days. You will be given advice on how to care for your teeth and possibly given antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection too.


What is soft tissue grafting?

Soft tissue grafting, also sometimes referred to as gum grafting, is a dentistry procedure that is both functional and cosmetic in nature and is a fairly common part of a smile makeover and a full mouth reconstruction. This is because by

Although our teeth are the principal focus of our smiles, our gums play a large role in exactly how our teeth look. They are also intrinsic in supporting our teeth in their sockets. If there is too little gum tissue, our teeth might look abnormally long and may not be as well supported. The gums may also have started to pull away from the teeth which can both look unsightly and cause problems such as sensitivity, abscesses, and infections. The underlying bone can also be affected as bacteria can more easily penetrate through the root, causing teeth to die and the supporting bone to deteriorate.


What happens during soft tissue grafting?

Soft tissue grafting involves taking tissue from another part of your body, usually the roof of the mouth, and grafting it on to the affected area. The tissue is attached using sutures and molded around the teeth so that any gaps between the teeth and gums are covered and the gum line looks natural and attractive.

The process is carried out using a local anesthetic, although it may be possible for you to have sedation if you are anxious or nervous about the procedure. You will be able to go home the same day, although if you do have sedation, you will be advised to arrange for a lift home since you will be unable to drive.


Healing after soft tissue grafting

As an invasive process, you will need to give your gums sufficient time to heal. This can take several weeks, and you will be given very specific instructions to follow after your soft tissue grafting procedure. These will relate to what you can eat, what medications you can take, what activities you can take part in, and most importantly, how to brush your teeth. You may be given antibiotics to reduce the likelihood of infection, and a special mouthwash to help control plaque while your gums heal. Pain relief will also be supplied and should be taken as directed.


If you would like more information on either of these procedures, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices where our friendly and experienced staff will be able to assist you. If you are searching for a dentist near 200 W 57th st Suite 800 New York, NY 10019, give Smily By Choice, NYC a call to schedule your consultation appointment.