Alveolar Bone Graft

Alveolar Bone Graft MetairieAlveolar Bone Graft New Orleans

Children that are born both with a cleft lip and cleft palate may also have problems with the alveolar bone. This bone is a thin layer that helps to make up the front portion of the mouth, or the gum ridge. It also contributes to form the sockets around the upper teeth roots.

If a child suffers from having a cleft in the alveolar bone, there will be a hole from the mouth to the nose resulting in teeth not growing properly and the prevention of a normally developing base of the nose. Because of this, liquids and solids can transfer between the mouth and nose causing irritation and constant drainage. Having this cleft also leads to obstructions in facial growth, wherein the face can appear sunk in, due to the lack of the upper teeth coming in.

The alveolar bone graft adds continuity of the gum ridge and support at the base of the nose, but perhaps even more important, it gives a smile back to the child. It will also aid in eating, digestion, and as previously stated, proper facial growth. Lastly, it gives new bone for the roots of the incoming permanent teeth to grow into.

The best age for a child to go through the bone graft procedure is usually around 8 to 12 years old, depending on whether or not permanent teeth have come through, and which baby teeth have already been lost.

The graft is normally taken from the child’s hip, where the bone is highly resistant to infection and optimal for healing. This area is called the illiac crest, or the upper ridge of the hipbone. The inner portion, or cancellous part, of the bone is used due to its soft and pasty nature that can be easily shaped to cover the hole. The gum tissue is then closed around the bone to begin the healing process.

This operation usually takes one to two hours and most patients will stay in the hospital for the day.