In Houston and Memorial City, Texas

If you’re considering dental implants, you must have healthy gums and adequate bone width and height to properly support them. If your bone is too soft, thin, or low, you’ll need a bone graft to build up a good foundation to support the future implants and prosthesis. 

At Bunker Hill Dentistry, we’ve performed countless bone graft and dental implant procedures and can help you successfully overcome tooth and bone loss. 

 

What Is a Bone Graft?

Essentially, bone grafting is taking healthy bone from a separate source from the problem area in your mouth (such as a missing tooth) and placing it in that weakened area. Once placed it can either augment the bone that is already there or regenerate new bone tissue, typically so that there will be enough healthy bone to support dental implants, which involve implanting a titanium post into the jawbone. 

Learn more about dental implants as an effective solution to tooth loss.

A single dental implant beside healthy tooth

Bone grafts are typically undertaken to support dental implants (left). Photo credit: Authority Dental.

 

What Causes Jaw Bone Loss?

There are many reasons why you may need to undergo a bone graft procedure. Causes of jawbone loss include:

  • Tooth extractions, after which bone loss begins immediately.
  • Periodontal disease, or gum disease, which can damage the bones that support your teeth.
  • Trauma, such as having a tooth knocked out, causing bone stimulation to stop.
  • Dentures/bridgework, because as they are designed to sit on top of the gum tissue, the bone underneath may deteriorate.
  • Misalignment of teeth, which can cause abnormal and damaging bites.
  • Sinus deficiencies as a result of having upper molars removed.
  • Bone diseases, such as osteomyelitis.
  • Developmental deformities.

 

Who Are Good Candidates for a Bone Graft?

Patients needing dental implants commonly require bone grafts as part of the implant process, but others can benefit from them, as well. 

Bone grafting can be used to treat jaw fractures and assist in healing around surgically implanted devices. In cases of bone loss due to disease or injury, a bone graft can help with new tissue regeneration. 

Patients undergoing tooth extractions often undergo what’s called a socket graft, also known as a socket preservation graft, to keep the hole created from collapsing. Bone material is placed into the abscess and allowed to heal into solid bone. 

Another common technique, a ridge augmentation or gum bone augmentation, is used to increase the width of the jawbone to accommodate a dental implant. And for those with bone loss in the upper jaw, a sinus lift is a type of bone graft that can help rebuild the area above the bony ridge of the gum line that anchors the upper teeth.

 

Types of Bone Grafts

There are several types of bone grafts that differ in their source of bone material. 

Autograft 

An autograft means the bone is sourced from your jawbone, or even your hip or leg bone if there is not enough healthy bone in your jaw to use. This living tissue comes from your own body and is therefore very safe and unlikely to be rejected.  

Allograft

An allograft procedure involves the use of human tissue that’s been donated by someone else to a donor bank. This allows for a faster procedure with a shorter recovery time. Allografts are extremely safe and widely used in dentistry.  

Xenograft

Finally, a xenograft is similar to an allograft except that the “donor” is an animal, typically cows or pigs. While also extremely safe, bovine or porcine bone is used more as a type of scaffold over which your new bone tissue will grow and replace it. 

 

Why Bunker Hill Dentistry?
Dr. Le and Ann Le

Dr. Le and his wife and office manager Ann Le

Specialists – Your bone grafting procedure will be carried out by Dr. Le, a dentist experienced in both cosmetic and general procedures.

Serene setting – Our office is designed to provide a calm, relaxing environment to help put your mind at ease during treatment. Take a tour.

 Client satisfaction – We have one mission – total client satisfaction. “Care, Comfort, Convenience”  is our guarantee to every client. More about Bunker Hill Dentistry.

Bunker Hill Dentistry Lobby View

Reception room at Bunker Hill Dentistry

State of the art – We utilize the most advanced technology such as the i-CAT 3D x-ray machine, All-On-4® implants and an anesthesia-delivery wand, for faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment.

 Conveniently located – Located in Memorial, just a short drive from Houston’s city center. Find us on the map.

How Does the Bone Grafting Procedure Work?

Before a bone graft procedure, Dr. Le will conduct an in-depth examination that includes 3D imaging of your jaws and an overall health evaluation. Each patient’s situation is different and this consultation will help us determine the most appropriate course of action for your condition and needs. 

In autograft procedures, the doctor will make a small incision and remove a small bit of your bone using special tools, then stitch the incision back together. In an allograft procedure, the bone is sourced from a human tissue donor bank, so this step is skipped. After the doctor makes an incision at the grafting site, the new bone is inserted. The incision site is then stitched back together. 

At all times, you will be under anesthesia and pain-free during the procedure. Your vital signs will be monitored, as well. 

After the procedure, you may have some grogginess from the anesthesia, as well as some pain or swelling that may last for a few days that can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. You may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection, as well.  

A dental bone graft takes between four and six months to heal enough for implants to be installed at the site of the graft. We will monitor your healing progress at your checkups. 

 

How Effective Are Dental Bone Grafts?

Bone grafting is an overwhelmingly effective, permanent solution to missing teeth. The vast majority of patients experience successful results with no reported issues. 

For those patients whose bone graft fails, poor dental care and/or hygiene is the most common cause, by far. These behaviors can cause infections in the bone graft that will typically happen within a few months of the procedure, although they may happen at any time over the life of the bone graft. 

Symptoms of a failed bone graft to be on the lookout for include:

  • long-lasting, severe pain and/or swelling
  • a large amount of leakage or drainage from the area of the operation
  • receding gums that cause implants to loosen and the bone graft to destabilize
  • a lack of evidence of new bone growth
  • pain in the neck or head
  • an excessive amount of teeth clenching
  • stress on your implants while chewing

 

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