Dental implants provide a permanent way to replace lost or missing teeth but because they require a certain amount of healthy bone to support them, some patients need to have a bone graft before they can proceed. Let’s take a look at what is required if you need a bone graft for dental implants.
What Is A Bone Graft?
A bone graft is a procedure that is carried out to increase the density or width of your jaw bone. It may also be performed if the underlying jaw bone is considered too soft to support a dental implant. Biting and chewing exert tremendous force on your teeth, and without sufficient jaw bone to support dental implants, they are likely to fail.
Once the dental implants have been surgically placed into your jaw, you will wait for a process called osseointegration to occur. During osseointegration, your jaw bone grows around the dental implant and integrates it.
Before your dental practitioner can place a dental implant, the jaw bone needs to be considered and questions such as
- Whether the bone is thick enough
- Whether the bone is wide enough
- Whether the bone is deep enough
Need to be asked.
If the bone is insufficient to support a dental implant and you tick all the other eligibility boxes for a dental implant, your dental practitioner will recommend a bone graft.
Bone Graft For Dental Implants: What Are The Options?
There are a few different ways to approach bone grafting, and the solution that is recommended to you will depend on how long ago you lost your tooth, and how much your jaw bone has deteriorated since then. You will need to consult with your dental practitioner, who will assess the condition of your jaw bone, to determine the best way forward.
If your damaged tooth is still present
If your tooth hasn’t been extracted yet, it is possible to do a minor graft after the extraction or before the placement of your dental implant. During this procedure, your dentist will perform a simple graft by inserting bone granules into your tooth socket and stitching it up.
If your tooth was lost a few years ago
If it has been a few years since you lost your tooth it is highly likely that you will have experienced bone loss, and a more complex bone graft procedure will be required before you can have dental implants. Your dental practitioner will make an incision where the lost tooth used to be and insert bone granules to build the area up. It is possible to use your own bone for this kind of procedure, which your dentist may extract from the area close to your wisdom teeth.
If your tooth was lost many years ago
If your tooth was lost many years ago or if you have been wearing dentures it is quite likely that significant bone loss will have occurred and you will need a major graft. To do this, your dental practitioner will use a large piece of your own bone, which may be taken from a different part of the body, and set in place. You may also need additional bone granules to be used to build up the jaw before you can have a dental implant placed.
Major bone grafts take time to complete. You will need to go through a healing and recovery period which may last up to three months following your bone grafting procedure before your dental implants can be placed.
Bone Graft For Dental Implants: What Materials Can Be Used?
It is possible to use natural bone, which can be taken from different parts of your body, as well as synthetic materials, which include bone substitutes, to stimulate the growth of new jaw bone. Sometimes bone can be taken from cadavers or animal sources if the patient does not wish to have a second surgical site to remove the bone. Your dentist will discuss your grafting options for dental implants in your treatment plan.
Not everyone who needs a tooth implant will have to undergo bone grafting. Bone augmentation is only required when the jawbone isn’t strong enough or thick enough to provide the necessary support for dental implants. This typically only occurs when the missing tooth has been lost for a long time.
Are you concerned you might need a bone graft for dental implants? The only way to know for sure is to consult with a professional. Please contact us for an appointment as soon as possible: (02) 8203 8760.