Bone grafting is done to preserve/enhance the shape of the supporting tissues of the teeth.
First a little background: Our body is efficient with bone. If bone is needed, our body will maintain or if needed, deposit bone until there is sufficient bone mass to support a given function. This assumes a healthy individual, with a healthy diet.
If a patient loses a tooth through trauma or decay, the bone around the tooth (which was needed to support the lost tooth) is reabsorbed back into the body. This occurs relatively quickly with a majority of the bone reabsorbed within 2 months. This results is an alteration of the gum and bone shape in the area where the tooth used to be. Instead of a rounded smooth shape to the gums, it becomes a void or depression in the area where the bone has been lost. This can make esthetic dental correction of the missing tooth very difficult to achieve as the gums/bone area surrounding the missing tooth will look mis-shaped and will create the impression that “something looks like it is not right” ’ about the replacement tooth when people see it. You may have seen someone that had a tooth that looked “fake”. This can be from inappropriate color or shape of the tooth, or inappropriate shape of the tissue surrounding the tooth.
Bone grafting is placement of natural or artificial bone material in the area where the tooth has been lost. This bone material is placed to stop or greatly inhibit the rapid loss of bone in the area surrounding the lost tooth. This can allow the option to place implant(s) to rebuild the missing tooth or a traditional porcelain bridge can be placed that will have a much better esthetic result than if grafting had not been done. Please refer to the sections on implants and bridges for further info, or even better, speak with Dr McGhee – you will find he is easy to talk to.