What Happens When I Lose A Tooth Or Multiple Teeth?
The best way to explain this is that there are two types of bone in the jaws. The first type is called ‘basilar’ bone which forms the general shape of the jaws. The second type is the ‘alveolar’ bone which supports the teeth in the jaws and is more spongy in nature.
Bone in the jaws is similar to soil on a hill. As long as there is grass and trees and flowers, when it rains the soil stays put. But if there are no trees, grass, etc. then when it rains the soil washes away. Similarly, when we lose a tooth or multiple teeth, the ‘alveolar’ bone starts to disappear due to lack of stimulation from chewing food. It is the ‘use it or lose it’ principle.
This is why when you look at someone who has lost several or all their teeth, they have a ‘witches’ chin and look older because the alveolar bone has washed away and only the shape forming bone (basilar) bone has survived. In addition to tooth loss, you can lose bone due to traumatic extraction, infection, jaw fracture, periodontal disease, etc.
Studies have shown that once a tooth is lost, bone turnover starts right away and is maximal at about three weeks to three months. If there is no bone stimulation with a ‘Dental Implant’ then the bone will start resorbing or ‘washing’ away. You can lose 2mm or more of bone within the first six months in all directions (horizontal, vertical and mesial-distal aka front to back). From this point you will continue to lose bone unless a Dental Implant is placed in the bone to keep it stimulated.
Does Bone Grow Back?
Once you lose bone, that bone cannot grow back and this is how bone grafting procedures have developed in order to place bone back to pre-extraction or near pre-extraction bony architecture.
What Types Of Bone Grafting Is Available And Where Do You Get The Bone?
Depending on the area and amount of bone needed, there are several types of bone we can use in a grafting procedure:
- Autogenous (your own bone): This can be taken from the mouth, chin, knee, or hip area.
- Allogeneic or Cadaver bone donated by people: This type of bone goes through extensive testing and treatment so as not to spread bacteria, viruses and diseases.
- Xenogeneic, or bone from another species such as cows or pigs: This type of bone goes through extensive testing and treatment so as not to spread bacteria, viruses, and diseases.
- Synthetic or bone created by humans in a lab.
There are several types of grafting procedures that are available with the simplest type called ‘Socket Grafting’ which is done at the time of extraction.
Other types of dental bone grafting are:
- Onlay Bone Graft
- Sinus Lift or Sinus Augmentation
- Ridge Split Augmentation
- Sandwich Grafting
In addition to bone grafting, we also will use Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) by drawing your blood and obtaining an ultra-high concentration of platelets which we will mix with bone. This allows bone and tissue to heal faster and better. It is a form of ‘Stem Cell’ like reaction which aids in healing.
Here at Sacramento Surgical Arts, PC, serving the greater Sacramento and Yuba–Sutter Areas, our oral surgery team is dedicated to providing you with safe bone grafting procedures in our comfortable environment. We have five convenient locations to serve you, and have years of experience providing a variety of oral surgery procedures to our patients throughout the area. Our staff is committed to excellent customer service, and we go above and beyond to ensure that you receive the best possible care.
We offer same day appointments if you find yourself in need of emergency dental treatment. If you would like to request more information about bone grafting procedures, we would be happy to answer any questions that you may have about the procedure.