How does bone grafting improve the chances of successful orthodontic treatment?

How does bone grafting improve the chances of successful orthodontic treatment?

Oct 01, 2023

Orthodontic treatment like braces applies pressure to teeth to shift their position. This process depends heavily on the foundation of the jawbone holding the teeth in place. When bone volume is insufficient, orthodontic outcomes may be compromised. Bone grafting before braces can strengthen the bone for better treatment results.

The Importance of Bone Volume for Orthodontics

Teeth are anchored in the upper and lower jawbones. Networks of tough, elastic fibers fasten each tooth securely within its bony socket. These fibers allow physiologic movement for chewing but prevent excessive displacement.

Orthodontic appliances like braces exert continual forces that gradually push teeth beyond their normal range. It happens in a controlled manner based on the orthodontist’sorthodontist’s treatment plan.

For teeth to shift successfully, the jawbone housing them must provide enough stable support. When bone is deficient, excessive looseness or tooth loss can occur during alignment.

When is Bone Grafting Needed?

Bone grafting near you adds bone where deficiencies exist to withstand orthodontic forces better. The main scenarios where patients need bone augmentation before braces include:

  • Narrow jawbones – Insufficient bone can cause tipping or gapping of teeth during alignment.
  • Extreme crowding – Crowded teeth lack bony support, so grafting provides more solid bone.
  • Tooth movement outside the jawbone – Pushing teeth too far outside native bone has increased risk.
  • Previous extractions – Grafting fills in extraction sites that otherwise lack adequate bone.

An experienced orthodontist can identify if your unique situation would benefit from preliminary bone grafting before braces. They may refer you to an oral surgeon to perform the grafting procedure.

How Does Bone Grafting Help Orthodontic Treatment?

There are two primary ways adding bone enhances the likely success of braces:

  • Strengthens anchor sites – Just as weak soil makes unstable foundations, insufficient bone leads to poor anchorage. Additional bone creates firm, healthy bone in which teeth can shift optimally.
  • Provides support outside the jaw – When aligning teeth outside their original bone, added bone in those spots avoids looseness. The grafted bone protects teeth moving into new areas.

Think of bone augmentation as fortifying the ground before building the structure of aligned teeth with orthodontics.

What Does Bone Grafting Involve?

There are several techniques for augmenting the jawbone:

  • Autograft – Using bone harvested from your own body, like the hip. It is the “gold standard” but requires a donor site.
  • Allograft – Using donated bone from a tissue bank screened for safety. No donor site is needed.
  • Xenograft – Using bone from other species, like bovine.
  • Alloplast – Using synthetic bone substitute materials.

The oral surgeon determines which type of bone to use. The graft material is then precisely placed using small incisions and specialized instruments for a minimally invasive procedure. Sometimes, a membrane is placed over the graft site to help stabilize it.

Following the bone augmentation, several months are given to allow complete healing before starting orthodontic treatment.

Ideal Candidates for Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is safe and valuable for enabling successful braces when bone conditions are less than ideal. Good candidates include:

  • Adolescents with crowded/misaligned teeth
  • Adults with bone loss from previous extractions
  • Anyone with a deficient jawbone for any reason
  • Braces cases involving significant tooth movement through bone

Talk to your orthodontist or dental clinic near you if you have questions. They can determine if your situation warrants bone grafting before undergoing orthodontic treatment.

What to Expect During Recovery?

Bone grafting is an outpatient procedure with relatively quick recovery. Your surgeon will provide detailed postoperative instructions for optimal healing.

Typical recovery guidelines include:

  • Eating soft foods for 1-2 weeks
  • Avoiding strenuous activity initially
  • Using pain medication as needed for discomfort
  • Keeping the site clean to prevent infection
  • Seeing your surgeon for follow-up checks

Most patients can resume normal routines within 2-3 days. As the graft integrates, your jaw will grow stronger in preparation for orthodontic treatment.

Grafting Options for the Upper Jaw

The maxillary sinus occupies a large volume in the upper jaw. A sinus lift procedure adds bone beneath the sinus when more bone is needed in this area. It infrequently adds stability before upper jaw orthodontic treatment.

The sinus membrane is gently lifted during sinus lift surgery, and graft material is packed underneath. It augments the bony floor to better accommodate tooth movement.

Talk to your dental clinic near you, Whitaker Family Dentistry, about options. An oral surgeon will determine if sinus lift surgery could benefit your orthodontic case.

The small upfront investment of time and cost in bone grafting can pay big dividends for your long-term orthodontic outcome. With a reinforced bony foundation, teeth can align properly and remain stable.

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