Bone Augmentation: What Is It And Why Should You Do It?

If you lost teeth years ago and want to replace them with dental implants now, you may wonder if you have enough bone tissue left in your jaws to get the procedure done. Although you have valid concerns, you shouldn't worry. Your dentist can rebuild your jawbones with bone augmentation. Bone augmentation involves several unique and advanced dental procedures that improve the width, height and stability of your jawbones. If you're ready to improve the functions of your mouth, facial appearance and overall health, keep reading. Here's what you need to know about bone augmentation and tips to rebuild your lost bone tissue at home.

Does Your Overall Health Affect Your Bone Augmentation Procedure?

Your dentist uses bone augmentation to replace the bone cells you lose after tooth loss. Dental implant surgery requires placing small metallic or ceramic posts inside the sockets of your lost teeth. Because of your bone loss, the posts may fail to integrate or bond with your jawbones after placement.

To avoid failure, your dentist grafts artificial or natural bone tissue into your jawbones before they place your implants. However, the type of bone augmentation procedure you undergo may depend on several factors, including your overall health.

For instance, if you're over 50 and currently experience bone loss from osteoporosis, menopause or andropause, your dentist may suggest that you rebuild your jawbones with traditional bone grafts. These types of conditions affect how well your body's bones regenerate new cells, which means your bone tissue doesn't grow as thick and healthy as it should. Because of these factors, your dentist must consider a bone augmentation procedure, such as bone grafting, that replenishes the cells of your jawbones before and after your implant procedure. 

Bone grafting is one of most common bone augmentation procedures to date. It requires placing a thin layer of live, cadaver-donated or artificial tissue over the bone of your jaws. To place the grafting tissue on your jawbones, your dentist makes a small cut into your gums. The dentist sutures or surgically sews the gums together over the grafted bone tissue once they complete the work.

Since bone grafting is an advanced oral surgery, your dentist may administer general anesthesia to you, which puts you to sleep during the procedure. But if you don't want to use general anesthesia, request intravenous sedation to make you feel more at ease. Intravenous sedation makes you feel very drowsy, but you remain aware of your surroundings.

It takes 3-9 months for your jawbones to heal properly. After the your jawbones become larger, thicker and healthier, your dentist places your dental implants. But keep in mind that if your jaws heal sooner, your dentist can go ahead and begin the implant procedure early. However, it's a good idea that you discuss this with your dentist right away so that you know what to expect from both treatments.

What Steps Can You Take to Rebuild Your Jawbones At Home?

After your bone grafting and dental implant procedures, take steps to improve the condition of your jawbones at home. You can eat calcium-rich vegetables and dairy products, such as cooked kale, cottage cheese and avocado fruit after your bone augmentation procedure. Your mouth will feel very sore after the bone's grafted into your jaws. So, eating crunchy or solid food may not be the best thing to do during that time. 

Before your procedure, you can eat iron-rich liver, lentil beans and some red meat products, such as lean beef or steak. If you can't find the right foods to eat, consult with your dentist or a dietician for assistance. 

Also, try to exercise several times a week before your scheduled bone augmentation procedure. Having strong red blood cells and good blood circulation in your body helps you heal faster and better later on.

For more information about bone augmentation, including bone grafting and dental implants, contact your dental provider today.