One of the reasons a dental implant is such an effective way to replace missing or damaged teeth is how stable the replacement tooth feels. By inserting a titanium anchor directly into the jaw bone, the crown has a strong base that is firmly entrenched in your mouth.
However, what happens if your jaw bone is too thin or soft to fully support the dental implant? If that is the case, your oral surgeon will likely suggest a bone graft.
Bone grafting for dental implants is a procedure to strengthen the jawbone so that it is strong enough to support a dental implant. This is achieved by taking a portion of a bone from a different part of your body and grafting it into the jaw. By using special bone grafting material, the new bone fuses with the old bone and creates a stronger and thicker jaw bone that can support the titanium implant. While the procedure sounds intense, a bone graft is actually a pretty straightforward and safe procedure.
Most patients need dental bone grafts for one of two reasons:
1) They’ve had a tooth extracted, or
2) They don’t have sufficient bone to support implants. Jawbone deficiency can be caused by injury, developmental defects, gum disease, or tooth loss. Bone loss can also be caused by misaligned teeth or infection.
A bone graft procedure involves the transplanting of bone tissue. The dental bone graft is a surgical procedure used to fill in the hole left behind by a missing tooth, or to repair or rebuild the jawbone. The transplanted bone tissue may come from another area in the patient’s own body, such as another part of the jaw, or from a tissue donor. Synthetic material is also used for bone grafting.
When an adult patient loses a tooth, or needs one extracted, a socket graft is often required to prepare the space for an implant. In cases when a missing tooth has gone untreated for a long period of time, a block bone graft is typically needed to build up sufficient jawbone to support implants. Some patients require a sinus lift bone graft procedure in order to make space for dental implants in the upper jaw.
The teeth and the jaw have a symbiotic relationship. Jawbone growth is stimulated through the pressure of chewing, and teeth are held in place by the strong jawbone. When a tooth is lost, the area of the jawbone that was once stimulated by the pressure that particular tooth provided, the bone begins to deteriorate and become reabsorbed by the body. This happens quickly – 25% of the bone is lost within the first year. It’s important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible in order to prevent jawbone deterioration.
The details of each person’s dental bone grafting procedure will depend on the location and scope of the treatment needed. Typically, the patient will be first sedated and made comfortable. Then the oral surgeon will make an incision in the gums, fold them back, and clean out any infected tissue. In cases when the patient’s own bone tissue is used for the transplantation, the surgeon will make another incision to remove a piece of bone from the back of the jaw or other area of the patient’s body. The bone graft material is then inserted into the jawbone and the incision is stitched back up. The dental bone graft can work in a number of different ways. Depending on the type of bone graft needed, the goal of the procedure may include any combination of the following:
Although the bone grafting process may sound complex and intimidating, it’s actually quite a simple and painless outpatient procedure. Patients are typically sedated and don’t feel a thing. For most patients, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are sufficient for minimizing any discomfort experienced during the healing process.
After the bone grafting procedure, your oral surgeon will provide you with a prescription for antibiotics to prevent infection, as well as one for pain medication if needed. You may be instructed to limit your physical activity and eat only bland, soft foods while your incisions heal. Although it takes only a couple of weeks to recover fully from the bone grafting procedure, it can take several months for the grafting material to fuse with your jawbone. Every individual is different, and there’s no way to know how long the process will take. Your dentist will continue to monitor your progress in the months following your bone grafting procedure and let you know when the process is complete and it’s time to move on to the next steps.
No. Not everyone needs a bone graft before getting dental implants. If you’re considering dental implants to replace a missing tooth or teeth, or you’re seeking a more permanent alternative to dentures, schedule a consultation with our dental implant specialists at University Dental. They’ll be able to assess and evaluate your oral health and the sufficiency of your jawbone to determine whether or not a bone graft is needed.
You don’t want just anyone performing a bone graft procedure. While at this point the procedure is relatively simple, in the wrong hands it can quickly become complicated. University Dental has years of experience performing bone graft procedures. Our dental surgeons and dental implant specialists have the experience and knowledge needed to efficiently and effectively perform a bone graft and dental implant.
Dr. Hage has done tens of thousands of successful dental and surgical procedures since 2005, notably more than 3000. If you are in need of a dental implant or bone graft, contact University Dental by giving us a call at (619) 582-4224.
Dental implant dentist Dr. Hage is very detail-oriented, has a passion for technology, constantly invests in new cutting-edge equipment and has more than 1000 successful dental implant surgeries in his resume. Dr. Hage is well known for over-engineering dental treatment plans often at no extra charge for patients. He believes in Quality Dental Works Without Compromise.
Dr. Armin Hage – Professional Training & Associations