Dental patients with severe gum disease often lose some of the jawbone tissue that hold teeth in place inside the mouth. If you experience this type of bone loss, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend a bone grafting procedure. The process allows people with missing teeth to enjoy the benefits of dental implants – something they would not be able to do without bone grafting.

The procedure begins with the dentist or oral surgeon removing any infected gum tissue and all existing plaque and tartar from the patient’s teeth. After that, a section of bone tissue is removed from some other part of the patient’s body and grafted onto the jawbone. Alternatively, artificial bone may also be used. Another option might be bone tissue from a human donor or an animal, such as a cow. After a period of several months, once the new bone tissue has bonded with the patient’s jawbone, dental implants can be inserted into the jaw to accommodate crowns that will replace the patient’s missing teeth.

A dental implant consists of a metal rod that is implanted into the patient’s jawbone. Once inserted, the metal rod begins to bond with the bone tissue. After the bonding is complete, the dentist affixes a porcelain crown on top of the implant. The result is a new dental implant – an artificial tooth that looks exactly like a natural tooth and can be cared for exactly the way natural teeth are; by brushing and flossing every day. Implants not only look just like natural teeth; they are also extremely durable and typically last a lifetime.

While there’s no doubt that bone grafting is a complex procedure, and it takes time for the new bone tissue to bond with the jawbone, most patients think it’s well worth the effort. This amazing dental technology restores a patient’s jawbone and allows him or her to enjoy all the benefits of dental implants.

Of course, the best option is to not need bone grafting in the first place. And the most effective way to avoid it altogether is by visiting your dentist at the first sign of gum disease. If you notice that your gums are swollen, painful or tender, pink or red, or if they bleed easily, contact your dentist right away. The old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true when it comes to good oral health.