Dental bone graft surgery is the process of adding bone to the jaw in order to preserve or restore the jawbone. While bone graft surgery might sound intimidating, it is often a necessary step in restoring your facial features and completing certain procedures, such as dental implants. If your oral surgeon suggests bone grafts, there is probably a very good reason why. Here are some of the reasons that you may need bone graft surgery. You may need bone graft surgery in order to prevent bone loss after tooth loss. One of the reasons you may need bone grafts is to prevent the loss of bone in your jaw. The extraction or loss of even a single tooth can significantly impact the appearance of your jawbone. In fact, in a single year after the loss of a tooth, you can lose up to 25 percent of the width of your jawbone. This much bone loss can change the appearance of your face. In order to prevent this type of dramatic bone loss, oral surgeons will often suggest bone graft surgery at the time of extraction. During this surgery, bone is placed where the tooth has been extracted or lost. Called a socket preservation bone graft, this procedure allows the jaw to integrate the bone over the course of 4-6 months. After this time period, the bone that was added is completely a part of the jawbone. Its presence prevents the loss of bone that would otherwise have occurred. This type of bone graft surgery is advantageous because it prevents the problems that occur after bone loss. For example, it allows you to retain your facial features even after the loss of a tooth. In addition, this type of bone graft surgery is much less invasive than surgery that takes place after bone loss has occurred. The bone is simply placed at the site of tooth loss, rather than being placed underneath tissue that has had to be removed specifically for the surgery. You may need bone grafts to restore facial features after tooth extraction or disease. If a socket preservation bone graft is not completed once one or more teeth are lost, bone loss quickly occurs. With up to 25 percent of the width of the jaw lost after the first year, a patient’s facial features and self-confidence can be significantly altered. Tooth extraction is not the only reason that bone loss may occur. The loss of a tooth from accidents or disease can also lead to bone loss. In addition, diseases such as periodontal disease, and problems such as the grinding of the teeth, can cause the teeth, and subsequently the jawbone, to deteriorate significantly. These problems are not always caught in time to prevent significant changes to the jaw. As a result, bone graft surgery can be used to restore facial features altered because of tooth loss or disease. In these cases, the tissue is pulled back to make room for the addition of bone. While this type of bone graft surgery is more invasive, it can make a big difference for patients suffering from significant bone loss. The addition of the bone grafts can restore the shape and width of their jaw, thereby restoring them to the appearance they had before tooth loss and bone decay. This change can play a large role in restoring patients’ self-confidence. You may need bone graft surgery to prepare your jaw for certain dental procedures. Finally, there are certain dental procedures that require you to have a certain amount of jawbone available. If you lack the right amount of jawbone, you may require bone grafts in order to restore the jaw to a place where the dental procedure can occur. Bone grafts are most often necessary for dental implants. Dental implants require at least 6 mm of bone, and preferably more, in order to be successful. If a patient lacks this much jawbone, the implants cannot be placed. Bone grafting can add bone to the jaw in order to prepare it for the implants and to make the patient a candidate for dental implants. During a bone grafting procedure intended to prepare the patient for further dental procedures, bone is added to the site of the implant. The patient must then allow up to 6 months for healing and bone integration to occur before undergoing the dental implant procedure. Bone grafting is a necessary surgery for certain patients. Patients who have recently lost teeth or had them extracted may benefit from bone grafts that prevent bone loss. Patients who have lost bone due to tooth loss or disease may benefit from bone graft surgery that restores the lost bone and thereby restores their facial features. Patients who need to undergo certain procedures, such as dental implants, may need bone grafting to ensure there is enough jawbone available to make the procedure successful. When you face a decision about bone grafting, it is important to find an experienced and compassionate oral surgeon. Here at Heart of Texas Oral Surgery, we offer you bone grafting and other dental procedures that can help restore your facial features. We ensure that you understand and receive the treatments you need, so you can enjoy a smooth procedure and a positive dental experience.