Bone Grafting

Replace Teeth and Eliminate Bone Loss in Marina Del Rey Dentist

I am sure most people are aware that if you break your arm and have to wear a cast for 3 months, when cast is taken off, the arm that was in the cast is smaller than the arm that was not in the cast. This is due to a biological process called “Atrophy”.

When you use a muscle, it stimulates the muscle to stay strong. When a muscle doesn’t have any stimulation for 3 months, the body will take the resources that it would normally use to keep that muscle strong and send them to other areas in the body that are under stress.

The same process occurs in your mouth when you lose a tooth. When you bite or chew on a tooth in your mouth, the pressure that is placed on the tooth as it functions is transferred to the bone that surrounds the tooth and keeps that bone dense and strong.

What is Bone Grafting?Bone Resorption

Bone Grafting is a simple procedure that is usually done at the time a tooth is extracted. When a tooth is extracted, there is an empty socket in the bone, where the tooth used to be. Because this bone no longer has any function it will go through a biological process called “Resorption”.  This is a slow dissolving away of the bone.  In order to prevent this from happening, a bone graft can be placed into the socket after an extraction. Sterilized, bioengineered bone replacement particles are placed into the socket, after the tooth is extracted, and stimulate new bone growth that basically “fills in the hole”.  The grafting material will slowly turn into your own bone preserving the architecture of the extraction site, preventing bone resorption.

Bone grafting can also be done in areas where a tooth was previously extracted years before. This is a more complicated procedure however and not always an option. Dr. Tamura has extensive post-doctoral education in all aspects of bone grafting and dental ridge augmentation and with a simple evaluation would be able to tell you if you are a candidate for this type of procedure.

When is Bone Grafting necessary?

Bone Grafting is generally performed whenever the anticipated bone resorption (after an extraction) would cause a Functional or Esthetic problem. Over time (usually about three months), the body will replace the bone grafting material with its own bone, which will keep the area where the tooth used to be strong and allow for proper replacement of the missing tooth. When a tooth is pulled, there is no longer any stimulation to the bone and in the area where the tooth was, and the bone will begin to atrophy. There are a number of reasons why your jawbone dissolving away in the area where a tooth was extracted can be detrimental to your oral health.

  • It can cause the teeth that are next to the area where the tooth was extracted to get loose
  • It can make your jaws weak and prone to fracture
  • It can make the area unsuitable for placement of a replacement tooth (Bridge)
  • It can make the area unsuitable for placement of a replacement tooth (Partial Denture)
  • It can make the area unsuitable for placement of a replacement tooth (Implant)

Who is a Good Candidate for Bone Grafting?

Any adult that is in good general health.  Children are not good candidates for Bone Grafting and adults with blood or bone diseases or those undergoing radiation treatment should consult with their physicians before undergoing a Bone Grafting procedure.

How Long Does The Bone Grafting Procedure Take?

The time it takes for Dr. Tamura to place a bone graft depends on the size of the site to be grafted.  For a single tooth graft, Dr. Tamura generally schedules between 40 minutes to one hour.

Bone GraftingWhat is The Recovery Like After Undergoing a Bone Grafting Procedure?

Dr. Tamura usually prescribes 800 mgs of Motrin one hour prior to your Bone Grafting appointment, 800 mgs of Motrin one hour after your appointment and 800 mgs of Motrin the night of the procedure before you go to bed.  Generally the next day you will not need any pain medication.  After a Bone Grafting procedure you will want to keep your diet soft for a couple of days, keep away from spicy foods and you cannot smoke a cigarette for 48 hours after having a Bone Graft.

Does Dental Insurance Pay For Bone Grafting?

Most, but not all, dental insurance companies cover Bone Grafting.  It is usually covered as an Oral Surgery procedure which most insurance companies (but not all) cover at 80%.  This means you would pay 20% of the cost of the Bone Graft and your dental insurance company would cover 80% of the cost.

Schedule a Consultation

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Tamura to find out if bone grafting is something that could enhance your oral health, please click HERE.