Dental implants are one of the most common tooth replacement options. An implant consists of a titanium tooth root that must be surgically placed in the jaw bone with an artificial tooth root attached to the top. Because of the way an implant works, sometimes bone grafting is required in preparation for the placement of a dental implant.
Has your dentist recommended that you have a bone graft procedure before getting a dental implant? If so, you may have some questions about bone grafting and what it entails. Here’s what you need to know.
Why is bone grafting recommended for some patients?
For a dental implant to be successfully placed, there are some specific requirements that the jaw bone must meet, including:
- Width. The jaw bone must be wide enough at the site where the dental implant will be placed. The titanium post of a standard size implant requires a specific width in order to fit properly.
- Depth. The jaw bone must be deep enough for the implant root to be placed. The length of the standard size implant requires a certain depth of bone to fit.
- Strength. The jaw bone must also be strong enough to support an implant. If the bone is too weak or brittle, it may lead to a failed implant.
If these requirements are not met, your dentist may recommend bone grafting to widen, deepen, or fortify the existing bone.
What does the procedure entail?
A bone graft procedure involves surgically placing a piece of bone under the gums and over the existing bone where the dental implant needs to be placed. The piece of bone may be artificial, animal, or taken from somewhere else on the patient’s body. Once the bone graft is placed it bonds with the existing bone and helps encourage it to regenerate and grow stronger. This process may take a few months but if it is successful, the dental implant can be placed.
Who is likely to need bone grafting?
There are a few different factors that increase the chances that a patient would need a bone graft procedure in preparation for an implant, such as:
- Age of the patient. The older the patient, the more likely that bone grafting may be necessary. With aging comes a general weakening and wearing out of the bones, and this often includes the jaw bone.
- Bone health of the patient. If the patient suffers from osteoporosis or another degenerative bone disease, the chances of needing a bone graft procedure increases.
- Length of time the tooth has been missing. The longer a tooth is out of the socket, the further the jaw bone and support structure deteriorates.
What alternatives are available?
There are alternative options to bone grafting in preparation for a dental implant, such as:
- Mini Dental Implants. When there is not enough bone structure available in the jaw to support a full size implant, a mini implant may be an alternative option. Mini implants are smaller and are not placed as deep in the bone.
- Dental Bridge. Another alternative option is a dental bridge, which is an artificial tooth that is suspended between the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The healthy teeth on either side are covered by crowns attached to the artificial tooth. A bridge sits above the gum line and does not require use of the jaw bone.
- Dentures. If you were considering dental implant supported dentures, you could avoid the bone graft and implant procedures by choosing traditional dentures that are attached to the gums via suction or adhesives.
Dental implants are considered to be the best option for tooth replacement according to dentists because they help to preserve jaw bone health, which in turn supports overall dental health. However, they are not the only option, and many patients choose alternative prosthetics.
Smile Makers Comprehensive Dentistry Provides Bone Grafting for Dental Implants
If you’re in need of tooth replacement, a dental implant is the most natural looking and functioning option. A bone graft may be necessary for you to get an implant, but both procedures are worth it because of the health benefits they offer. Smile Makers Comprehensive Dentistry can restore your jaw bone health to support an implant as well as the rest of your teeth and keep them healthy.