Bone Grafting Prior To Dental Implants

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Dental implants are the latest and greatest way to replace missing teeth. In the past, your choices to replace an extracted tooth was a removable denture or a cemented bridge. Both of these options are still viable and useful in many situations. But the dental implant alternative is most similar to replacing your natural tooth. Removable dentures have the drawback of limited aesthetics and the fact that they are removable. Bridgework is a good second choice to implants, but the teeth in the surrounding area must be crowned, and bear the excess chewing stress of the missing tooth. 

In the case of implants, a post (also called an abutment) is buried into the jaw bone, and a prosthetic tooth is attached to the end of the post. Unfortunately, not all patients have the bone level needed to support the post. This may be due to bone loss through periodontal disease, infections, trauma, genetic causes or various other reasons. If there is inadequate bone in the area needed for post placement, a bone graft would be required to complete your dental implant.

How does it work?

There are three sources of bone which can be used for bone grafting: your own bone, harvested from another site; cow bone; or synthetic bone. Your own bone is the best choice of the three. This bone is usually harvested from the patient's chin or back of the jaw. This would be a surgical procedure done all at once, from harvesting to placement in the area of the planned implant. If you don't have enough bone to be harvested, the dentist will then use synthetic bone or bone from a donor.

When can I get my implant?

After the bone grafting procedure is complete, fusion must take place between between the jaw bone and the grafted material. This can take anywhere between six and twelve months. During this time, you will be monitored for healing and success of the bone graft. Once fusion is complete, the implant may begin. You can speak to your dentist about a temporary fix for your missing tooth during the waiting period, usually a small removable piece. 

Dental implants are long lasting and are the most authentic reproduction of your missing tooth. Including bone grafting into the experience will prove worthwhile when you have completed all the work and have your new tooth. Dental implants with bone grafting require no extraordinary home care or office care when completed, and have a high rate of success