When someone who is relatively healthy loses a tooth or teeth, a dental implant can be an excellent long term solution. A solid foundation of bone is absolutely essential to the success of a dental implant. But if you don't have enough bone to work with, you may need a bone graft.
What is a dental implant bone graft?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure that replaces or repairs bone through the transplantation of bone tissue. This is a completely normal part of the implant process, though not always required.
A dental implant acts like an artificial tooth root. It needs to fuse with your jawbone, just as a real tooth root would. If there is not enough bone to fuse with, a bone graft will likely take place.
Bone grafting can be essential to achieving predictable dental implant outcomes, whether preparing a socket for future implant placement or for placing an implant immediately.
In what instances would I need a bone graft?
Let’s say you lost a tooth or teeth several years ago. Without a tooth to hold, the jaw bone can naturally start to lose density; affecting the contour of your face and making it more difficult to place stable implants or even provide a stable base for dentures. A bone graft can help augment the bone to a level necessary to hold an implant.
Other circumstances like certain developmental anomalies and trauma or injury can make your bone less likely to support an implant as well.
Certain locations within the jaw are more likely to be composed of thin bone, like near your sinus cavities. If the bone is not deep enough or dense enough to hold an implant, your doctor may opt to augment the bone before placement.
Different types of bone grafts
There are several different types of bone grafts, and your doctor will determine which is most appropriate for your case. This will depend on the extent of the bone damage you have, as well as the location of the future implant.
The most common type of graft is called a socket preservation graft. This type of graft fills an empty socket with material that will heal into solid bone.
A block bone graft involves taking a small section of bone from elsewhere in your jaw or using donor bone. This small section is placed into the area requiring augmentation, and is held in place with tiny screws.
Lateral ridge preservation is used to increase the width of your jawbone in order to hold a dental implant. Typically, donor bone is used but it’s possible that your surgeon would use a small section of your own jaw bone.
A sinus lift procedure increases the amount of bone in your upper jaw. Bone taken from your own jaw or donor bone is placed around the area that supports your rear teeth.
Will my procedure be more painful if I have to get a graft?
Most patients who receive bone grafts are sedated throughout the process and are completely pain free. Bone grafting is an outpatient procedure, and you shouldn’t feel any pain as the graft heals.
If your dentist told you you’ll need a bone graft as part of your implant process, don’t worry! This is simply the first step you need to take before you’re ready to implant your beautiful new smile!
It can be confusing navigating all your options, and it’s natural that many questions may come up. We know! That's why our consultations are always complimentary, and you can find tons of resources here in our blog to help you navigate the implant decision making process.
At Britely, we've created a welcoming environment for you to learn which option is best for you. So, if you find you still have questions, schedule your free consultation today and get all your questions answered.