Bone & Soft Tissue Grafting following a period of oral disease & bone loss
Dental Bone & Gum Grafting
In an ideal world, your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a glove. However, if you have suffered a period of oral disease then this supporting bone and tissue is destroyed. This leaves gaps known as ‘pockets’ around your teeth. If these pockets are left untreated then they continue to get deeper. This dramatically increases the risk of infection, bone loss and eventually tooth loss, along with other complications. Luckily, when a period of oral disease has destroyed the bone which supports the teeth, the damage can be reversed. This is done by regenerating the lost bone and tissue by a process known as GTR (Guided Tissue Regeneration).
The first step to reversing the effects of oral disease is to remove the bacteria causing the disease. Once this has been done, membranes, bone grafting or variety of tissue stimulating proteins are used to encourage your body to regenerate the lose bone and tissue naturally.
To form a base for new bone to grow we use synthetic bone substitutes to make a matrix for the new bone to grow in and around. Over the next 6 months natural bodily processes will replace the synthetic material with strong new bone growth. We can usually do this at the same time as setting a dental implant, however if you have lost a lot of bone, we may need to implant the materials first as a preliminary procedure.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
Guided Tissue Regeneration (or GTR) is a surgical procedure used to help promote bone growth where there has been extreme bone loss or the jaw has been significantly damaged by oral disease.
GTR is done by first exposing the damaged area and carefully cleaning it. Because soft tissue grows much quicker than bone, we place a membrane between the soft tissue and the bone. This stops the soft tissue from obstructing the bone growth, allowing it to heal at its own rate.
We usually recommend this procedure to prepare a certain area of the jaw for dental implants. This is a completely safe and routine procedure.
One of the main causes of bone and soft tissue collapse is having teeth removed. While the dentist removing the tooth may not think of this as a problem – it can cause complications if you’re thinking of having an implant to replace the missing tooth.
To combat this we often recommend that a ridge preservation procedure is done when you have the tooth removed. This means that when the dentist removes the tooth they also open up a flap of gum, exposing the surrounding bone. When the tooth is removed the empty socket is filled with synthetic bone substitute material. The dentist then places a collagen membrane over the bone to separate it from the gum and help further promote new bone growth. The flap is then closed and left to heal.
While receding gums might be detrimental to an attractive smile, they can also be a precursor to more serious conditions such as bone loss. A receding gum line will expose the roots of your teeth, meaning they look unnaturally long and can become highly sensitive to hot and cold. Receding gums can be caused by a number of things, including periods of oral disease and even excessive brushing. However it is easily corrected using gum grafts, which will improve your gum line and prevent any ongoing recession.
Gum graft surgery is done by covering the area of exposed tooth root with grafted skin. This is usually taken from the roof of your mouth and will improve the appearance of your gums and teeth instantly. It will also decrease sensitivity, reduce the risk of root decay and prevent any further exposure over time, so you won’t experience the same problem again.