A topic commonly discussed in conjunction with dental implant surgery is bone grafting. While not all dental implant patients require bone grafts, the procedure is combined with implant placement under certain circumstances.
Dental Implants and Bone Loss
Many people who have lost teeth have also lost bone tissue from their jawbone. This is because the root of the tooth naturally stimulates the jawbone to grow. When the tooth is removed, the root no longer stimulates the bone. Growth slows and even stops, leading to a reduction of the bone mass.
Dental Implants must be placed directly into the bone, so lack of sufficient bone volume and density makes it difficult or impossible to ensure the implant can be successfully placed and remain stable in the long term. If your oral surgeon feels the bone in your jaw is insufficient to support implants, whether teeth have just been removed or have been missing for quite some time, he will recommend bone grafting. Ridge preservation is a newer technique, now used consistently at the same time a tooth is pulled, to help guarantee good bone and to prevent the collapse of the empty socket if an implant is planned.
How Bone Grafting Works
In bone grafting, various sources can be used e.g., synthetic bone, bovine bone, bone from a tissue bank, or a segment of bone tissue from elsewhere in the body. These grafts are placed in the area of the jaw that needs to be augmented. The graft provides a scaffolding and structure for the patient’s own bone to form. The new bone will bond to the existing bone, providing a strong, stable base for your implants. If bone grafts are required, the amount of time it takes to receive a dental implant is typically a few months longer. This ultimately depends on the location of the graft and whether or not the graft is performed in conjunction with placing a dental implant or in preparation to place a dental implant later. After the bone grafts are placed, the jaw must heal before dental implants can be added. Then another healing interval is necessary before the final prosthetic teeth are put in place.
For more information about dental implants and bone grafting, contact this dual-degreed oral surgeon in the Chicago South Loop area for a consultation.