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Years of untreated tooth loss can trigger jawbone atrophy. Because a successful dental implant treatment requires strong, healthy bone, many patients with missing teeth cannot qualify for implants. To boost your candidacy and enhance your chances for success, Dr. John Rink performs bone grafting procedures at his practice in Charleston, SC. Depending on whether the upper or lower jaw needs treatment, he may recommend either a traditional grafting surgery or a sinus lift.

What Causes Jawbone Atrophy?

Like the rest of your body, the bone tissue in your jaw needs to receive a minimum amount of nutrients to stay strong and healthy. However, without stimulation from tooth roots, your body does not know that the jawbone still needs these nutrients and consequently redirects them elsewhere. As a result, losing teeth often triggers deterioration of the jawbone. Without a replacement for both the tooth and its root, the jaw will continue to atrophy.

Man with glasses smiling, hand against his chin

Understanding Bone Grafting

When a patient is missing teeth but suffering from jawbone atrophy, bone grafting is the most commonly recommended treatment. The goal of the procedure is to use harvested or synthetic bone tissue to reinforce the upper or lower jawbone. Over the course of several months, this will ideally trigger new bone growth and provide a stronger area of support for dental implants. Depending on the severity of bone loss and the technique used, Dr. Rink may need to perform more than a single bone grafting procedure for optimal results.

The surgery itself is usually performed several months in advance of implant placement. To begin the surgery, we will administer an anesthetic to numb your gums and keep you comfortable. The doctor can then make an incision into the gums, to create the space necessary to place bone grafting material. Once the grafting material is in place, we will suture the incision shut. The goal of bone grafting is to use harvested or synthetic bone tissue to reinforce the upper or lower jawbone.

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What to Expect After Surgery

During your recovery, the bone grafting material will slowly integrate with your existing bone tissue. After four to six months, we will schedule an appointment so Dr. Rink can evaluate your progress. If the procedure has catalyzed a sufficient amount of bone growth in the jaw, we can schedule the implant placement surgery.

Is a Bone Grafting Procedure Right for Me?

If you have lost teeth and never received treatment or if you do not have the adequate bone strength for your tooth replacement, a bone grafting procedure may be right for you. To set up a consultation and examination to learn more about Dr. Rink, please send us a message online or give us a call at (843) 242-0284.

Socket Preservation Following Extraction

If you need to replace a tooth that has not fallen out yet, Dr. Rink will first need to extract it. In certain cases, the doctor may also recommend undergoing socket preservation to ensure that no bone is lost afterward. Once Dr. Rink has removed the tooth at your appointment, he can immediately insert grafting material to preserve the socket and prepare it for an implant.

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