Nowadays, dental implants have become the mainstay of restorative dentistry, even forming life-altering combinations with older restorative prostheses like crowns, bridges, or dentures.
Due to both the functional and esthetic advantages of dental implants, implants are now considered the nearest equivalent replacement to the natural tooth. People who are missing teeth due to disease, trauma, or developmental anomalies likely make eligible patients for dental implants.
If you have missing teeth or have been battling a long-standing local or systemic disease, you may be prone to experiencing bone loss. In cases where a patient has experienced significant bone loss due to missing teeth, a bone graft may be necessary to provide adequate support for the dental implant.
You may also want to save money, which is why we offer affordable and high-quality bone grafts in Tijuana, Mexico!
What Is Bone Grafting?
Dental bone grafting (or bone augmentation) is a minor surgical procedure used to repair and rebuild diseased or damaged jawbone by transplanting bone tissue into the spaces of diminished bone to stimulate regrowth in your jaw.
This procedure typically uses your own bone material, harvested from the pelvis or tibia, but may also use donor or synthetic material in certain cases. Bone grafting not only facilitates new bone formation but also prevents further bone resorption from taking place in your jaw.
During the procedure, the dentist will make an incision in your gums and access the bone beneath. They will inject the bone material into the incision, cover the graft with a collagen membrane, and stitch the gums shut for optimal repair.
The material will require a few months to heal and integrate. When you are done with the healing period from your bone grafting, you will have sufficient new bone tissue mass to support prostheses like dental implants.
When Is Bone Grafting Needed?
Your jawbone also starts losing its healthy qualities like density, height, and width whenever you lose a tooth. This is called bone deterioration.
Unfortunately, with dental implants, the jawbone needs to have a substantial amount of volume for it to accommodate an implant’s titanium post. If the implant is placed without enough bone material for it to adhere to properly, it will simply fail.
Therefore, you must get a bone grafting procedure at the right time so that it does not hinder your tooth replacement plans with dental implants.
You may need bone grafting before dental implants in any of these scenarios:
Tooth loss: Your bone starts to wear as soon as you lose the tooth that would otherwise stimulate it. If left untreated for long periods, it would cause your bone to deteriorate to a point where it cannot support a dental implant. This also happens after tooth extraction, especially if multiple teeth have been extracted around the same time. Since bone mass once lost is irreversible, bone grafting may be your only option.
Periodontal disease: Commonly referred to as gum disease, this severe form not only involves the gums surrounding the teeth but also the bone underneath. Bacteria gradually begin to eat away at the ligaments that fix the tooth to the underlying tissues and also cause the bones to deteriorate in extreme circumstances.
Dental trauma: Direct injuries to the teeth can also affect the bone’s density. A common example of this would be a condition called bruxism, whereby the patient continually, and involuntarily grinds his/her teeth leading to the erosion of vital tooth substance and bone loss due to the persistent heavy forces on it. Similar accounts can be made for when you get your tooth knocked out or when you accidentally chip a tooth due to a fall.
What Are the Risks and Complications?
Following a bone grafting procedure, it is expected that you’d be in a certain amount of pain. Bleeding may also follow surgery and is not uncommon up to 72 hours after surgery. You may also observe widespread swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face.
This is your body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. However, the swelling should begin to subside within two to three days, postoperatively.
Patients may also look out for other symptoms or complications following surgery, including:
Nausea and vomiting
Slight elevation of temperature
Sore throat and pain when swallowing
Stiffness (trismus) of the jaw muscles, especially when opening your mouth
Nasal bleeding due to sinus communication in the upper jaw
Wound dehiscence due to improved wound healing
Membrane and graft exposure
Heavy bleeding (more than 72 hours after surgery)
Complications from anesthesia
Late resorption and foreign body reaction
The success rate of dental implants is about 95% in most cases. However, certain risk factors, such as smoking and uncontrolled diabetes, can hamper the reception of the implant and lead to implant failure.
Studies reveal a success rate of only 46% to 82.9% after three to five years in smokers and 93% to 100% in non-smokers in the same period.
Things to Consider
You may be perplexed by the heavy amount of information about a procedure that seemingly appears complex. Here are some important things you need to remember when it comes to bone grafting:
Variation of Bone Grafting: There are different types of bone grafting, specific to what you need. Socket preservation, for one, is done immediately after a tooth extraction to prevent bone loss. Whereas ridge augmentation is done when you have been missing teeth for a while and your jawbone has depleted. Other graft procedures, like sinus lift, may be done to prevent your sinuses from dropping down and invading the space once occupied by your roots. The type of bone grafting you need will be determined by your dental clinician.
Best Materials Used for Bone Grafting: The best bone graft material is your bone, and as mentioned above, it is taken from your own body. However, other forms of bone grafts also exist. Bone graft material can be synthetic, cow bone, or human-origin bone typically sourced from cadavers. The choice of bone graft will depend on the amount and mixture of bone grafts needed.
Potential Side Effects of Bone Grafting: Bone grafts are bioresorbable and have no adverse antigen-antibody reaction in your body. They merely act as mineral reservoirs from which new bone tissue materializes.
Bone Graft Aftercare
The first 72 hours are of utmost importance in your recovery process, and proper precautions must be taken during this period. The total recovery time for the bone graft to heal depends on the size of the bone graft needed.
As your bone begins to remodel, healing can take anywhere from four to nine months for a full recovery. In the meantime, you must take proper care of your surgical site by following these instructions:
Avoid drinking from straws, especially during the early stages of the healing process.
Eat soft foods and do not chew hard or sharp objects.
Do not miss out on any meals.
Do not disturb or touch the surgical site with your fingers or tongue.
Gently place water in your mouth, let it swirl, and drip out into the sink. You may also use warm water or warm saline rinses.
Avoid spitting for at least two days to allow blood to clot and the graft material to stabilize.
Do not constantly lift or pull on your lip to avoid tearing the sutures.
Take medications or antibiotics as provided by your doctor for the allotted time.
Moisten a new gauze with cold water, squeeze out the excess, and place it in the mouth firmly for 30 minutes to allow clots to form.
Use ice packs to minimize swelling.
Use a soft bristle brush when brushing around the surgical sites.
While bone grafting is a fairly minor procedure, the cost of the surgery can be quite high in the U.S. This is exactly why getting a bone grafting professional in Tijuana, Mexico can help save you up to 70% of your costs!
A ridge augmentation bone graft can cost upwards of $1,500 in the U.S, whereas in Tijuana, you can get the same procedure for around $350 to $600 total! Register now to get your bone grafting procedure on the other side of the border and save yourself hundreds of dollars!