Dental Health and Aging
The condition of your teeth and gums has a profound impact on how your face ages. Compare two women of the same age side by side. One of them has healthy teeth and jawbone structure; the other has lost all of her teeth. The one with no teeth, most likely wearing a denture, can appear up to ten or more years older than the woman with a healthy mouth.
You may be familiar with the signs of premature facial aging: a thinning of the lips, wrinkles or sagging around the mouth and jaw, and the chin moving closer to the nose. A once-balanced smile often grows crooked as the teeth wear unevenly. Although this is can happen with natural aging, oral bone loss can bring about these changes well before your time.
What Is Oral Bone Loss
The amount of bone we have in our jaws is due to the presence of existing teeth that are being continuously used. The jawbone supports and anchors the teeth. Once teeth are lost for one reason or another, the underlying jawbone begins to atrophy (called “resorption”). In someone who has lost all of their teeth, the amount of bone will shrink to a narrow hoop of bone in the lower jaw – or a flat pancake of bone in the upper jaw. This is called “basal bone.” With a reduction in overall facial bone, the structure holding your muscle and skin in place collapses. Hence, a sagging face.
Due to the fact that bone loss is painless, it can progress over the course of many years until teeth become loose in the jaw and are dislodged.
What is a Dental Bone Graft Procedure?
A dental bone graft procedure preserves or restores bone in the underlying jawbone so that a dental implant can be placed. The bone graft is a routine, proven, effective, and relatively-simple surgical procedure with a high success rate.
This procedure improves the patient’s bone volume for a more sturdy implant. This allows for more efficient chewing, increased longevity of teeth, and a more natural smile.
The bone that supports teeth can be damaged due to periodontal disease, trauma, denture pressure, improper dental development, and missing teeth. Dental bone graft procedures restore this bone and create a foundation for dental implants.
Recovering From a Dental Bone Graft Procedure
Patients are usually able to function normally the day after a dental bone graft procedure is finished, go to work, and go on with daily activities. Medication may be prescribed for soreness and prevention of infection.
After the procedure, another appointment with Dr. Pagano is scheduled to check on the condition of the bone graft and to assess the healing process.
Recovery from a dental bone graft procedure is usually uneventful; however, smoking, diabetes, dentures, and autoimmune disorders can slow down the healing process. Patients should discuss these issues with the doctor before the procedure.