The sad truth is that sometimes a tooth extraction is necessary to relieve pain and prevent further health conditions.
Whilst nobody likes the idea of having their tooth removed, if we must have it done – it has to be done.
However, if this procedure is deemed necessary, would it also be necessary to have a bone graft? Well, the answer is not exactly.
There are lots of different facets to this, so we’re going to clear up all of the misconceptions with this helpful guide below.
We’ll explore the necessity of a bone graft post-tooth extraction and give you some other handy tips.
Read on to learn more.
What Exactly Is A Bone Graft?
It’s best to start by clearing up what a bone graft is.
For those unaware or unfamiliar with a bone graft, here’s what you’ll need to know.
In dentistry terms, a bone graft is a procedure that improves the density and overall level of the tissues in your jawbone.
To complete this procedure, though, additional bone is needed to add to the area that is lacking.
There are different types of bone grafts though and these include:
- Xenografts: These are types of grafts that come from an animal source. Normally this is from a cow or pig and can also be obtained from a bone bank or tissue bank.
- Autografts: This is a kind of graft that takes bone from the patient, normally from the chin or jawline.
- Allografts: This is a graft that receives bone from an approved donor of bone or tissue.
Do You Need A Bone Graft After A Tooth Extraction?
As we mentioned earlier, the answer is complicated – with a yes and no.
The first thing we must remember is that dentists do not automatically go to tooth extraction as a means to an end.
They would much rather try every possible solution to repair your tooth if it is at all possible.
For example, if you have a cracked or damaged tooth – they may try to perform things like fillings.
You may have a full crown as an option, and depending on necessity, a dentist may need to perform a root canal for some dental problems.
None of these will require tooth extraction as such, but sometimes your tooth is beyond repair and keeping your tooth in may cause further pain, and infection and be detrimental to your quality of life.
In fact, in some extreme cases, a dental infection can lead to a blood infection which can cause death!
Now, when a tooth extraction is required – a dentist has an option to perform a bone graft at the same time.
Some dentists will deem it necessary for a bone graft to be conducted, and this is for the following points.
Bone Graft And Tooth Extraction
Many dentists consider a bone graft necessary for tooth extraction.
They believe it is better not to leave you without a tooth with the added risks of complications – and these could be things like:
- Tooth crowding
Therefore, to curtail these risks, they use the time they have with you to perform a bone graft – particularly if you plan to have an implant in the future.
This procedure is often known as a ridge preservation graft, and this gets put into the gap where the tooth used to be.
The necessity of this procedure is to prevent the bony walls from collapsing – essentially it operates as a foundation for your mouth, ready for an implant later down the road.
It’s important that we point out that this procedure does not give you any more pain or discomfort as part of an extraction.
It’s also important that you know that the healing process prior to having a dental implant can be as long as six months.
Tooth Extraction But Without A Bone Graft
This is where the whole “yes and no” answer comes into it.
You see, many patients who have undergone a tooth extraction will not have experienced any further problems.
In fact, the area where they had their tooth extracted completely heals and they do not have any adverse effects in the surrounding areas.
Whilst this is fantastic, it is in some ways a gamble for dentists.
As a result, a lot of dentists will encourage you to have a bone graft as a sort of “insurance policy”, to ensure that additional problems do not arise.
Moreover, even patients that have had a successful tooth extraction may later down the line request a dental implant.
The problem is, if too much bone has been lost since the extraction (due to not having a bone graft), the solution of a dental implant is lost.
In other words, if you are hoping to have an implant after a tooth extraction – you should opt for a bone graft.
What To Do Before And After A Bone Graft
Let’s give you some helpful tips before your procedure and after it!
- Speak with your dentist about any concerns you have
- Try not to panic and worry too much
- Brush your teeth before the procedure
Immediately after the procedure, there are many things you need to do and remember.
- First, remain seated and await further instructions
- Bite down on your gauze gently to stop bleeding
- Eat soft, healthy foods
- Take medication as instructed by your dentist
- Continue with a good oral hygiene routine
- Refrain from touching the affected area
The Bottom Line
When asking if you should have a bone graft after having your tooth extracted, the answer isn’t necessarily a yes and no – but if you plan to have an implant in the future, most dentists will recommend that you do.
We hope this guide has been helpful and cleared up your questions!