Wisdom teeth removal can lead to loss of the supporting jaw bone. This situation occurs because the jawbone relies on the stimulation provided by the roots of the teeth to maintain its density and volume. Following extraction, this stimulation is lost, and the jawbone in that area begins to resorb, or shrink, over time.
To minimize the risk of bone loss after wisdom teeth removal, your dentist may recommend options for preserving the jawbone, such as dental implants or a bone graft.
So make sure to discuss the potential risks of wisdom teeth extraction and bone loss with your dentist, as well as the options for preserving the jawbone to ensure the best outcome for your oral health.
Bone loss after wisdom teeth removal
There are some instances when the removal of wisdom teeth can lead to significant bone loss, especially if the wisdom teeth have been impacted for an extended period of time and have caused damage to the surrounding jawbone. This can result in changes to the facial structure and appearance, as well as a loss of support for adjacent teeth, leading to shifting or instability.
To prevent such problems from occurring, your dentist may recommend that you get dental implants to provide the necessary stimulation to the jawbone to help maintain its density and volume, or a bone graft to help to restore the jawbone and provide support for the adjacent teeth.
Benefits of bone grafting after wisdom teeth removal
Bone grafting after wisdom teeth removal can offer several benefits for patients who are concerned about the potential for jawbone loss, including:
- Preserving jawbone density – The removal of wisdom teeth can result in a loss of jawbone density and volume, which can lead to changes in facial structure and stability issues with adjacent teeth. Bone grafting after wisdom teeth removal can help to preserve the jawbone and maintain its density and volume.
- Supporting dental implants – If you’re considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, bone grafting after wisdom teeth removal can help to ensure that there is enough healthy jawbone to support the implants.
- Improving aesthetics – Bone loss after wisdom teeth removal can lead to changes in facial structure, such as a sunken appearance in the cheek area. Bone grafting can help to restore the jawbone and improve facial aesthetics.
- Maintaining oral health – Jawbone loss can lead to a loss of support for adjacent teeth, which can lead to shifting, instability, and other oral health problems. Bone grafting after wisdom teeth removal can help to maintain the stability and health of the surrounding teeth.
- Streamlining treatment – In some cases, it may be possible to perform the bone graft at the same time as the wisdom teeth removal, streamlining the treatment process and reducing the overall recovery time.
Recovering from a bone graft procedure
Recovery after a wisdom teeth bone graft procedure can vary depending on several factors, including the type of bone graft material used, the complexity of the procedure, and the patient’s overall health.
Here’s what to expect during the recovery process, which will in turn affect the cost of your tooth extraction and bone graft:
Some bleeding at the graft site is normal following the procedure and can be controlled by biting down on gauze. The bleeding should eventually stop completely as healing starts within a few hours.
Pain and discomfort
After the procedure, some pain and discomfort is not unusual, and can be successfully managed with pain medications prescribed by your dentist. The pain should subside within a few days.
Swelling is common after the procedure and should peak within the first 2 to 3 days, then gradually subside over the next week.
Eating and drinking
It’s recommended to stick to a soft food diet for the first few days after the procedure to avoid dislodging the graft material. Avoid drinking through a straw, as the sucking motion can also dislodge the graft material.
It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene during the recovery period by brushing and flossing regularly. Your dentist may also prescribe an antiseptic rinse to use after eating and brushing.
Avoid physical activities that can cause the jaw to move excessively, such as heavy lifting or contact sports, for the first few weeks after the procedure.
Your dentist will likely schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process and to ensure that the graft material has integrated properly with the surrounding bone.
Overall, the recovery process after a wisdom teeth bone graft procedure can take several months, but most patients return to normal activities within a week or two. Make sure to follow your dentist’s postoperative instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.
What are the possible complications of dental bone grafting?
Dental bone grafting is generally considered a safe and effective procedure, but like any surgical procedure, it carries some risks, such as:
- Infection – There is a risk of infection at the graft site, which can cause pain, swelling, and redness. This can be treated with antibiotics if caught early, but may require additional surgery if it becomes severe.
- Pain and discomfort – Some pain and discomfort is common after the procedure and can be managed with over-the-counter medications prescribed by the dentist.
- Bleeding – There may be some bleeding at the graft site following the procedure, which should be controlled by the dentist or by biting down on gauze.
- Numbness: In some cases, the nerves in the area may be damaged during the procedure, leading to numbness or tingling in the lower lip, chin, or tongue.
- Resorption – In rare cases, the body may resorb the bone graft, which can lead to loss of bone volume and stability.
Your dentist will discuss these risks and any others with you before undergoing a wisdom teeth bone graft to ensure that you understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of the procedure. Additionally, you should follow your dentist’s postoperative instructions carefully to minimize the risk of complications.