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Your child may have a cleft in the alveolus or upper jaw. An alveolar bone graft is used to fill in the gap between the teeth. Orthodontic preparation is required to expand the alveolus and starts when the first molar teeth have erupted (around age 6). At the time of surgery, a small, straw-like instrument removes spongy hip bone for grafting.
Alveolar Bone Graft Objectives
- Close the hole or fistula defect in the upper jaw so speech is improved.
- Provide solid bone for the teeth to erupt through or for the teeth to be moved around orthodontically.
- Unify the upper jaw in a nice arch form that will match the lower jaw.
- Provide support for the base of the nose for more facial and nose balance.
When is an alveolar bone graft performed?
After orthodontic alveolar widening, the bone graft is performed around age 6-8 years with the use of nearby flaps of mucosa (gums).
How long is the surgery/recovery?
The surgery takes 2 hours and requires a 23-hour stay. During the 2 week recovery, specific attention to pain control is given.