Distraction osteogenesis is a procedure for patients who require additional width, height, or shaping of their facial bones. Many patients prefer this gradual method of alteration to complete surgical intervention because it is minimally invasive and avoids the need for extensive bone grafting. At Rio Grande Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center, Dr. Gregory McGee and Dr. Drew Steel can perform distraction osteogenesis procedures to help repair jaw defects or add bone to the jaw in areas that are lacking. Contact our office in Albuquerque, NM, to learn more or to schedule a consultation.
Why do I need distraction osteogenesis?
Distraction osteogenesis is most commonly performed on children and teens to assist in the development of a healthy jaw and bite. This procedure can be used to address many areas of the body, from opening the windpipe to allow for better breathing to augmenting bone in the cheeks or eye sockets to protect the eyes. When oral surgeons perform this procedure, it is typically addressing a jaw bone or palate that is not large enough to accommodate healthy tooth growth or that is significantly misaligned.
Benefits of Distraction Osteogenesis
Distraction osteogenesis offers many benefits over more traditional surgeries for similar conditions. Some of the benefits for patients are
- Less swelling and pain than more conventional procedures
- A more controlled method of altering the shape of the bones in the face and jaw
- No need for bone grafts, which means fewer surgical sites
- No visible scars from surgery (placement of the device occurs inside the mouth)
- Uses your bone — no need for tissue bank
While patients of all ages can usually undergo distraction osteogenesis, the procedure isn’t for everyone. Patients who are more prone to infections and other complications may need other forms of treatment.
How Distraction Osteogenesis Works
Distraction osteogenesis involves gradually separating tiny portions of bone to allow new bone to grow in the newly created space. To begin the process, the oral surgeon surgically places a very small device into the area of bone that requires alteration. Part of this device will rest on top of the gums, allowing periodic adjustments to be made to the bone beneath. Some patients worry that these adjustments will be painful, but most find that the level of discomfort is similar to that of having braces tightened — a little soreness immediately after an adjustment that fades in a day or so.
Distraction Osteogenesis at Rio Grande Oral Surgery
If you are interested in distraction osteogenesis, contact our practice in Albuquerque, NM, to learn more about the procedure or schedule an appointment today. Drs. McGee and Steel will discuss all of your or your child’s options for treatment and develop a plan for optimal oral health and function.