If you’ve lost a tooth, you may be finding yourself considering an implant. Whether through extraction or trauma, losing a tooth can have other consequences. Those who have lost a tooth often discover that their jawbone begins to degrade. The jawbone has degraded too far to hold an implant in more than half of all implant procedures. When needed, a dental bone graft may be considered. This procedure can reinforce the existing jawbone. The result is restored bone health that permits the insertion of an implant.
The Role Of Dental Bone Grafts In Successful Implants
The ability of the body to restore bone is impressive but may not be enough. Bone grafts are the best approach for most patients who lack the bone density to support dental implants. Bone grafts can supplement the body’s natural processes to produce better results. Bone grafts are accomplished by the placement of special material at the weakened area. The natural healing process of the bone will incorporate this material to produce stronger bone.
There are four common forms of bone graft:
- Autograft – Sourced from the shin, chin, or hip of the patient.
- Allograft – Sourced from a cadaver or living human donor.
- Xenograft – Sourced from animals, most often from a cow.
- Alloplast – Produced using hydroxyapatite, a natural mineral found in our bones.
When possible, dentists prefer to use autografts in this procedure. This material produces the highest rates of success and least complications. These are the benefits of using material from the patient’s own body.
What Drives The Need For A Bone Graft
Those who have lost bone due to health conditions or trauma may need a bone graft to receive implants. Periodontal disease, aging, missing teeth, and other concerns are common factors. Genetics and developmental defects may also be involved. After examining the health of your jawbone, your dentist may suggest a bone graft before getting implants. As mentioned earlier, almost half of all implant procedures need a bone graft.
The Process Of Getting A Bone Graft
These days bone grafts are a generally routine procedure. The first step to receiving one involves meeting a periodontist or oral surgeon. These specialists will determine what material will best suit your health needs. They’ll also take the time to create a treatment plan with you that will improve the procedure’s success. No two bone grafts are the same, but the following steps are involved:
- Anesthesia – The needs of your procedure will determine the type of anesthesia used. Those using autograft material will undergo general anesthesia.
- Extraction – Autograft material will be extracted during this stage.
- Insertion – The material will be applied to the target location.
- Stitching – One of several methods will be used to close the surgical site.
- Recovery – Four to six months are generally required to recover from bone graft surgery.
Reach out to your dental specialist to receive more information about bone grafts. They’ll help determine if you’ll need a bone graft before receiving implants.