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When Is Bone Grafting Needed?

Mar 06, 2023
 When Is Bone Grafting Needed?
Your teeth — whether natural or prosthetics — rely on strong jawbones for support. When that support just isn’t there, bone grafting is the best way to solve the problem. Here’s a look at when bone grafting makes good sense.

Much of the strength of a tree is in its hard structure, but also in the roots that extend down into the earth, anchoring it into place. This analogy is a perfect way to describe why your teeth have so much strength — the teeth themselves are strong, but they’re anchored by their roots into a strong jawbone. If the roots aren’t secure because of inadequate bone support, then neither are the teeth.

To solve this problem, highly skilled periodontists Dr. Kenneth Markle and Dr. Jenny Herman offer expert bone grafting services here at Baton Rouge Perio.

Here’s a look at how, and when, bone grafting makes good sense.

Behind the bone loss

Before we get into bone grafting, let’s take a quick look at the underlying problem — bone loss in your jaw. All of the bones in your body are living tissues, and they’re constantly remodeling themselves (producing new bone cells). The signal for this remodeling to continue is activity, so when an area becomes dormant, your body ceases to rebuild bone.

This means that when you lose a tooth, as well as the roots that go into the jaw, your body registers the inactivity and ceases to rebuild bone, leading to bone loss in your jaw.

Other ways you can lose bone include:


  • Advanced gum disease in which bacteria eat away at the bone
  • Trauma
  • Bridge work
  • Certain treatments, such as cancer treatments

No matter how you lost the bone, we can restore your jaw through bone grafting.

What is bone grafting?

With bone grafting, we introduce new bone tissues to your jaw that encourage rebuilding. The materials might be bone fragments from your own body (autogenous) or donor tissues (allograft). We can also use artificial materials (alloplast) for a bone graft.

Whatever the source, we implant the new “bone” where your jaw needs it, and your natural bone tissue will fuse the graft into place by growing around the newly introduced tissues.

Why bone grafting is needed

The most common reason we turn to bone grafting is to support a dental implant. Each year in the United States, about five million implants are installed. Implants are popular because these prosthetic teeth offer superior stability from the metal post we implant into your jawbone. If there isn’t enough bone to support the implant, it requires bone grafting ahead of time.

Another reason we might recommend bone grafting is if you’ve had too much bone loss after wearing dentures. Unlike dental implants, dentures aren’t supported from inside your jawbones, so you will continue to lose bone tissue. After some time, you might not have enough bone to support your prosthetic teeth, in which case we can turn to bone grafting.

As well, if gum disease has wreaked havoc on your bones, creating substantial loss, we may need to augment your jawbones through grafting before we can supply you with dentures in the first place.

There are other reasons we may use bone grafting, such as radiation treatments in your jaw, but the above are the most common scenarios.

If you want to learn more about how bone grafting can successfully restore strength to your jawbone, please contact our office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to schedule a consultation.