Bone Grafting: Why You Shouldn't Ignore Missing Teeth

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Patients who have suffered the loss of a permanent tooth are at risk for a variety of oral health issues, including misaligned bites, tooth decay, and difficulty chewing and speaking. Left untreated, missing teeth can cascade into a deterioration of overall quality of life. Addressing missing teeth can prevent additional complications and help to preserve bone structure in the jaw.

Bone grafts are often necessary after an extended period of ignoring missing teeth, as the patient's jawbone has deteriorated from the lack of stimulation that’s normally provided by tooth roots. Bone resorption is the body's natural response to breaking down the bone tissue, which can lead to loss of volume and density.

What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a multi-step surgical treatment that's used to restore missing bone mass that has been lost due to missing teeth, gum disease, injury, or other conditions. Patients with missing teeth may require bone grafting before they're candidates for dental implants. Implants must be placed into bone structure, so if there's not enough naturally available due to deterioration — grafting is used to rebuild.

Grafts are often sourced from the patient's own bone, though they can also use donated bone tissue or synthetic materials such as hydroxyapatite. The process of bone grafting includes evaluations such as X-rays and CT scans and the removal of any remaining tooth or root fragments.

The bone graft is carefully positioned in a way that promotes integration with the original bone structure, which helps to promote new bone growth and regeneration. Over the course of recovery, the graft will continue to integrate with surrounding tissue in a process known as osseointegration. Once the volume of bone has increased to an adequate amount, a dental implant can be placed if applicable.

Potential Outcomes of Ignoring a Missing Tooth 

Patients should seek out some form of restorative treatment for missing teeth, such as dental implants, bridges, or even implant-supported dentures. Each option has pros and cons, though they're all better options than leaving the gap unattended.

Aside from the aesthetic concerns held by many patients, ignoring missing teeth can lead to other, more serious oral health issues. Jawbone deterioration and bone loss being chief among them. This can then lead to compromised stability for the surrounding teeth, which can affect a patient's facial structure. 

Missing teeth can potentially alter the alignment of your bite, which can place excess pressure on the temporomandibular joint. This can cause TMD disorders, with symptoms such as jaw pain, clicking, and limited range of motion.

Restorative Dentistry in New York, NY 

SmilesNY offers a range of restorative dentistry services, including dental bridges, a single post with a natural-looking crown and implant-retained dentures. Whether you’re missing a single tooth or multiple, our team can help you regain confidence in your smile and benefit from the durability and longevity of implants.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.