graphic of bone graft

The mouth goes through many changes throughout a lifetime, and most people develop wisdom teeth (third molars) by their mid-twenties. Five million Americans opt for extraction every year because of the unpredictable nature of wisdom teeth development and complications. Sometimes, oral surgeons must consider a bone graft if extensive damage occurs near the wisdom tooth. Generally speaking, oral surgeons recommend bone grafts immediately after tooth removal if the remaining jawbone structure is inadequate.

When are bone grafts recommended after wisdom teeth removal? Here are three scenarios where bone grafting can be beneficial:

1. Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Though a serious problem, impacted wisdom teeth are not uncommon. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons reports that 9 out of 10 people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

When teeth do not have enough room to erupt and develop normally, they grow horizontally (parallel to the jawbone) and become impacted. This indicates that impacted wisdom teeth cannot break through the gums and fully emerge. Likewise, the adjacent second molar can suffer from overcrowding due to impaction. If the impacted wisdom tooth presses against the second molar, damage to the second molar or infection may occur in that area. 

Spacing issues in the back of the mouth can cause swelling, infections, discomfort, and damage. If the tissue damage is widespread, a bone graft may be necessary to establish a solid foundation of healthy bone to support the second molar adequately.

2. Periodontal (Gum) Disease

It can be difficult to reach wisdom teeth with dental floss or toothbrush, so plaque tends to accumulate around this area. Because impacted or partially erupted third molars are especially challenging to clean, they may be more susceptible to gum disease than other teeth in the mouth. Over time, neglecting the gumline and wisdom teeth can induce tooth and bone loss. If substantial resorption occurs, an oral surgeon may recommend a graft to help regenerate tissue.

3. Dentigerous Cysts

Dentigerous cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in the jaw bone and soft tissue. Usually, dentigerous cysts form over the top of unerupted or partially erupted molars. While smaller cysts may not show any signs, you may notice swelling, sensitivity, and tooth displacement if the cyst grows larger than two centimeters in diameter. 

If oral surgeons do not remove dentigerous cysts in time, untreated cysts can eventually cause infection, tumors, tooth loss, and jaw fracture. In the event of tooth loss or jaw fracture, a bone graft may be required.

Is a bone graft following wisdom teeth removal suitable for you?

In summary, a bone graft may be beneficial after an oral surgeon pulls a wisdom tooth if there is considerable bone loss due to impaction, cysts, and periodontal disease. However, a bone graft after wisdom teeth extraction may do more harm than good in some cases.

Considering needs vary from person to person, it’s essential to visit an oral surgeon with comprehensive experience with wisdom teeth removal to go over your treatment options. With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Chris Tye specializes in removing wisdom teeth and offers contemporary treatments and technology that match the current healthcare standards. At Texas Oral Surgery Specialists, Dr. Tye helps patients in Colleyville, TX, and surrounding areas decide if a bone graft will be worthwhile after wisdom teeth removal. 

Learn more about your oral surgery options by conveniently calling (817) 552-3223 or requesting a consultation online right now.