When Is a Bone Graft Recommended for Dental Implants?
If you are considering dental implants, it’s likely you are consulting with your surgeon about preliminary steps. One of the factors that effects the implant procedure is the condition of the implant site. To make sure you are ready for an implant procedure, your surgeon will X-ray your mouth to see if you have enough bone to support an implant. Bone grafts make an implant possible even when bone loss has occurred.
The term “bone grafts” may sound scary, but they are a routine part of dental implant surgery. Bone grafts aren’t always necessary, but they can increase the chance of a successful dental implant surgery. For a dental implant to work, you need enough bone at the surgical site for the surgeon to attach the implant. Sometimes bone loss makes it impossible to place a dental implant without a bone graft.
Why Do We Lose Bone?
Getting a dental implant can seem like a big commitment, but the longer you wait to replace a tooth, the more likely you will need a bone graft. After teeth are lost, the jawbone begins to shrink because it is no longer being stimulated by the activity of your teeth. Changes in the shape of your lower face may indicate bone loss.
Previous injuries and disease can also leave bone unfit to receive dental implants. Ongoing infections from advanced gum disease can deteriorate the jawbone, making it thin and weak.
Why Does the Dental Implant Need Bone?
Dental implants provide a permanent solution to tooth loss because they are placed directly into the bone. Unlike dentures and bridges, they are anchored firmly in place like your natural teeth.
Part of your implant is attached to the bone so it can act like your tooth’s root. Eventually, the bone grows around the implant, holding it in place. If the jawbone isn’t thick, deep, or wide enough, or it is too soft to receive the implant, a bone graft may be necessary. Supplementing the existing bone keeps the implants from being rejected.
Bone grafts replace the missing bone and give the surgeon a place to attach the implant. Not only do bone grafts provide a place to anchor the implant, but they also provide support, giving you a more youthful appearance.
Some Dental Implant Sites Are Better Than Others
Some implant sites are more likely to need bone grafts even if the bone hasn’t been deteriorating. If you need an upper molar replaced, the site may not have enough bone to receive an implant.
Upper molars are located near the bottom of the upper sinuses, hollow spaces that may not have deep or dense enough bone for a successful implant. In this case, bone grafts can supplement the sinus area, giving the implant sufficient room.
How Do You Know If You Need Bone Grafts?
At Cumberland Surgical Arts, we consult with our patients about bone grafts. Preliminary X-rays can determine if there is enough bone to receive an implant. Once you know if you need a bone graft, we can discuss the options for donor bone and how the graft will affect the overall implant procedure.
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