A Guide to Bone Regeneration and Dental Implants

A Guide to Bone Regeneration and Dental Implants

Bones form the fundamental structure of your body, and in dental health, your jawbone plays a crucial role in supporting teeth and facilitating essential movements for talking and chewing. When teeth are missing, the jawbone can undergo changes in shape and mass. Fortunately, bone regeneration and dental implants can restore your smile and help you look your best. But what’s involved in bone regeneration, and is the procedure really necessary? Here is your guide to bone regeneration and dental implants. 

What is Bone Regeneration?

Bone regeneration is what it sounds like—regenerating the bone tissue in the jaw, usually through a graft. Bone regeneration is necessary for a few reasons, such as:

  • Foundation for Dental Implants – Dental implants are mounted to the jawbone, so they need sufficient space and density to fit correctly and last a lifetime. If you’ve experienced substantial bone loss, you must regenerate the site before you can get an implant.
  • Preventative Dental Health – Jawbone loss doesn’t only happen because of missing teeth. Sometimes, deterioration can occur because of decay and other oral diseases that eat away at the tissue. So, regenerating the bone preemptively can prevent the problem from worsening.
  • Infection Damage – Sometimes, dental infections can seep into the jawbone and cause deterioration. This situation is rare, but if it occurs, you’ll have to regenerate the bone to repair the damage and restore your smile.

Types of Bone Regeneration

The only way to stimulate the growth of new bone in the jaw is to graft new bone tissue to the site. After the procedure, your body will absorb the new bone and assimilate it back into the jaw, strengthening the structure. There are three types of grafts, each used for different situations. Here’s a quick overview of each one:

  • Socket Graft – This graft is done after a tooth extraction. In this case, donor bone tissue is inserted into the socket to seal the hole and prevent bone loss. Then, once the graft takes hold, the site can support a dental implant.
  • Sinus Graft – A sinus graft may be necessary if you have a tooth extracted on the top of the mouth. Sometimes, the tooth’s roots can extend into the sinus, leaving a thin layer of bone once removed. So, a graft can strengthen the site, making it possible to install an implant.
  • Ridge Preservation Graft – The alveolar ridge sits behind the front teeth on the roof of the mouth. Tooth extractions along this ridge can weaken it, making it harder to install implants. So, a ridge preservation graft will reinforce the area as needed.

The source of the bone graft can also vary from one procedure to the next. Usually, periodontal dentists will try to use bone from a different part of your body so it can assimilate more easily. However, you may also get bone from a donor with compatible tissue or an animal with similar bone structures. Sometimes, you may receive an alloplastic graft, a synthetic material that can stimulate bone growth.

What to Know About Bone Regeneration Procedures

Before scheduling a bone regeneration appointment, knowing what to expect is best. Talking with your dentist can help you understand what will happen during the procedure and, most importantly, how to recover afterward. Here are some insights you should know about the procedure:

  • You May Have Multiple Surgical Sites – If you’re getting an autograft, the dentist must harvest bone from another part of your body. Depending on the source site, you may undergo multiple surgical procedures, lengthening the healing process. Common locations for autografting include the chin, hip, leg, or skull.
  • Limit Exertion and Eating Habits – After a bone graft, you’ll experience discomfort and swelling, which you can take medication to help ease. To help the recovery process, you should also limit the types of foods you eat and let your body rest by taking a break from exercise. The duration of your healing depends on the extent of the graft, so talk with your dentist to see how long you’ll need to recover.
  • You’ll Likely Be Awake – Local anesthesia is sufficient for bone grafting, so you may not be put to sleep for the procedure. However, if you’re feeling anxious about oral surgery, you can discuss options with your dentist.
  • Implants Don’t Happen Immediately – A bone graft is necessary to strengthen the jawbone for an implant. However, the site must heal completely before you can do anything to it. So, the time it takes to get a new tooth can be longer than you might expect.

Get a Better Smile With Vero Beach Dental

Whether you need dental implants or other dental work, Vero Implants and Periodontics is here for you. We’ll walk you through every step so you feel comfortable and accommodated. Contact us to learn more about what kinds of implants and periodontal work we offer.