Dental implants are a permanent way to replace missing teeth that offer several benefits over dentures and bridges. Dental implants are anchored in the jaw, which reduces the likelihood of bone loss, and they do not require any special cleaning. However, if you do not have enough bone to support the implant, a bone graft may be needed.
Dental Implants and Bone Grafting
The process of inserting a dental implant involves placing a post in the jaw and waiting for the post to fuse with the surrounding jaw bone. In order for the implant to have the proper support, there must be enough bone in the area where the implant is to be inserted. If the jawbone isn’t thick enough or is unusually soft, a bone graft may be needed in order to strengthen the area around the post and improve the odds of a successful dental implant surgery.
The Impact of Missing Teeth on the Jaw Bone
The jaw bone supports the teeth. When all the teeth are in their sockets, the jaw bone is continuously stimulated and remains strong. When one or more teeth are extracted, the jaw bone in that area is no longer stimulated, and over a period of years, that area can become thin and weaker than the surrounding bone.
Understanding Bone Grafts
A bone graft involves taking a piece of bone from elsewhere in your body and transplanting it to the area that needs more bone. In the case of a dental implant, bone is usually taken from another area of your jaw and transferred to the implant site in order to strengthen it. If that is not possible, an artificial bone graft can be used.
Benefits of Bone Grafts for Dental Implants
- Strengthens the Jaw Bone Surrounding the Implant
- Restores the Jaw Bone to Its Original State Prior to Tooth Extraction
- Better Success Rates for Individuals with Thin or Soft Jaw Bones
The Bone Graft Process
If the bone is to be taken from the individual receiving the implant, the piece of bone will be removed from its original site and placed in the jaw at the future dental implant site. If a commercially prepared bone graft is to be used, no other area of the jaw or body will be affected. Instead, the sterile artificial graft will be placed at the dental implant site in order to strengthen the jaw bone and provide a solid foundation for the implant.
If only a small amount of bone is needed, the post that will function as the “root” of the implant will be placed at the time of the graft. If more bone is needed, the graft will be placed and allowed to fully heal before further implant work is performed.
Dental Implant Process After the Bone Graft
Once the bone graft has healed and the jaw is strong, the “root” post of the dental implant will be inserted into the jaw, and the implant will be allowed to heal and fuse with the surrounding bone. In some instances, the abutment, which is the post that rises above the gumline where the artificial tooth is placed, will be inserted. This can avoid another surgery to reopen the gum, but the metal post is visible until the artificial tooth is placed. Once the bone and gum have healed, the artificial tooth will be secured onto the abutment, and the process is complete.
Dental Implants at Vero Implants and Periodontics in Melbourne, FL
Our dentist, Dr. Brown, offers dental implants for individuals who are missing one or more teeth and do not feel that dentures or bridges would provide an acceptable tooth replacement solution. Dr. Brown can evaluate the health of your jawbone and gums to determine if you would be a good candidate for dental implants and if you would need a bone graft prior the implant insertion. He can also explain the dental implant process to you along with the benefits and drawbacks and create a plan to replace your missing teeth.
To learn more about dental implants or to schedule an appointment, call us at 772-569-9700.