Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease caused by an infection deep inside the gums near the alveolar bone. The alveolar bone is a ridge on your jaw that the roots of your teeth attach to. When your body's immune system attempts to fight off the infection, your alveolar bone can be damaged in the process. When the portion of alveolar bone under a tooth is damaged, it will begin to move freely in its socket. When the damage progresses, the root of the tooth will detach from your jaw, causing you to lose the tooth permanently.
The first objective of periodontal disease treatment is to stop the infection. This may require a form of surgical intervention known as root planing, where incisions are made in your gums so that the site of the infection can be thoroughly cleaned. Even if the periodontal infection is successfully treated, you may have already sustained serious damage to the alveolar bone. Your dentist will take x-rays to determine the extent of the damage. In order to prevent tooth loss, a bone graft is often performed after successfully treating periodontal disease.
Where Does the Bone Used in the Graft Come From?
The bone used for a bone graft can either be from your own body, another person's body, a bone from an animal, or synthetic replacement bone. All four are perfectly safe to use. Which one will be used is the decision of your periodontist — if only a small graft is needed, it's likely that the graft will be performed using your own bone.
What's the Purpose of a Periodontal Bone Graft?
The purpose of a bone graft is to stimulate the regeneration of your own alveolar bone while temporarily reinforcing the connection between the root of your tooth and your jaw. A bone graft is usually done quickly after periodontal disease treatment in order to prevent you from losing your natural teeth. A damaged alveolar bone that causes your teeth to move freely in their sockets is a very precarious situation for your teeth to be in — slight trauma can cause them to detach from your jaw entirely.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Bone Graft?
Although the procedure is invasive, recovery after periodontal bone grafts isn't bad. You're likely to feel slight pain at the site of the graft along with the site healthy bone was removed from your jaw if your own bone was used for the graft. Over-the-counter pain medication is usually sufficient to alleviate the pain from a periodontal graft. You will be directed to use antibacterial mouthwash two to three times daily to prevent infection, to eat only cold or room-temperature foods and to avoid drinking through a straw.
If your teeth are loose in their sockets, schedule an appointment with a dentist, like Tony Parsley, DMD, as soon as you can. Reinforcing the alveolar bone with a bone graft will help you keep your natural teeth and maintain your healthy smile.