Dental implants are an excellent solution to missing teeth that can provide permanent and comfortable relief, especially when compared to traditional dentures and bridges.
However, some patients require additional oral preparation before the dental implant surgery can be completed. One of the most common additional surgeries is bone grafting. What is bone grafting for dental implants, and could it be right for you?
What Is Bone Grafting for Dental Implants?
If you are missing a tooth due to an infection, tooth decay, injury, or any other reason, you might be eligible to receive a dental implant. Dental implants are placed into your jaw using an anchor that will eventually bond with the bone. This ensures the stability and longevity of the implant. At the top of the implant, you will see an artificial tooth that looks similar to what you might receive if you have a crown.
Because dental implants are anchored in the jaw, you must have enough jawbone to complete the process. Depending on the condition of your jawbone, your dentist might recommend a bone graft. Bone grafting is one way to add bone so that your jaw is strong enough for an implant. After losing a tooth, the bone will naturally decrease in volume over time. Grafting is one way to reverse this process and create the best base possible.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer many benefits over similar ways of replacing teeth and restoring your smile. Some of the biggest benefits include:
Your dental implant will function virtually identically to a natural tooth. You will be able to eat a normal diet, brush your teeth normally, and floss your teeth as you did before. This is a major difference between dental implants and dentures, as dentures require specific additional care and will never function exactly the same as your normal teeth, even if they are properly fitted and customized to your mouth.
Providing that you take proper care of your dental implant, it should be able to last the rest of your life. Dental bridges typically last for about a decade, and dentures often eventually need to be replaced or refitted. Due to the strong materials involved, your dental implant could last forever.
Dental implants preserve the existing jawbone that you still have left. Even if you are having grafting performed to add onto your bone, the implant will help preserve the current level of bone and the bone graft.
Why Are Bone Grafts Sometimes Necessary for Dental Implants?
In order to be a good candidate for dental implant surgery, you will need a certain amount of jawbone. If you do not have enough bone, there is a very high chance of failure, and dentists will not perform the procedure. Some of the reasons why you might require bone grafts for your dental implants include:
The jawbone where the implant will be placed has decayed to the point that it needs to be enhanced with a bone graft.
You have a genetic condition that leads to low jawbone volume.
You have moderate to severe periodontal disease.
You have a past injury to the jaw or jawbone.
The implant is being placed in a part of the jaw that is more likely to be low in bone volume.
Every patient is different. Your dentist can evaluate you to determine what is necessary for optimal results.
Are You a Good Candidate for Bone Grafts?
Dentists can work magic in a variety of complex situations, but the healthier that you are going into your procedure, the better. Some of the signs you might be a good candidate include:
You have already had your adult tooth extracted, so the amount of bone remaining is measurable.
You do not have uncontrolled or untreated diabetes, cancer, or gum disease.
You do not take medications that might impact the healing process, like immunosuppressants.
Are All Bone Grafts the Same?
No! There are four different types of oral bone grafts that can be used in conjunction with dental implants:
Socket Preservation: This technique is used when a bone graft is placed into the jaw right after the tooth is extracted. This bone graft can help prevent the socket from collapsing and the bone underneath it from wasting away.
Sinus Lift: Your sinuses are located above your upper molars. When those teeth are missing, the sinuses may start to lower into the place where your tooth roots would normally be. This would make a dangerous situation for placing implants right away, as the sinus membrane may be damaged. A sinus lift uses a bone graft to return the sinuses to the right place and reinforce the jaw bone.
Ridge Augmentation: When your teeth that are being replaced with dental implants have been missing for an extended period of time, ridge augmentation can be used to add to both the volume and width of the jawbone and create an optimal place for implant installation.
Periodontal Bone Graft: The final most common type of bone graft for dental implants is a periodontal bone graft. This type of graft is common in those who have gum disease and teeth that are loosening. By adding a bone graft, existing teeth can have more support and a strong base can be laid for the new tooth.
Contact the team at Sherwood Oral Surgery to learn more about your options today.