Has your dentist recommended a dental implant for your missing teeth? You may require a bone graft before your procedure to strengthen your jawbone. Here, our Toronto dentists explain bone grafting for dental implants.
Bone Grafts & Dental Implants
If you are generally healthy and lose a tooth to trauma, infection, periodontal disease or something else, your dentist may recommend a dental implant to replace the lost tooth.
This artificial tooth root will be surgically placed in your jawbone so a tooth replacement such as a crown or bridge can be attached. Once the procedure is complete, your implant will look and feel similar to your natural teeth.
With that being said, if your jawbone is too soft or too thin to support a dental implant, your may need a bone grafting procedure to help you to strengthen your jawbone and preserve your oral health before having an implant placed. Bone grafts can also be used to regenerate lost bone structure and density caused by severe gum disease in order to prevent teeth from loosening or falling out.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Dentists typically perform the dental implant procedure in stages, the first of which is extracting the damaged tooth before preparing the jawbone for surgery. If you require a bone graft, the dentist will add tissue to your jawbone to strengthen it, and restore areas where the bone has deteriorated. A bone graft can also restore proper contour to the facial area.
Dental implants are titanium rods that are placed beneath your gum tissue and into your jawbone. After the placement procedure, the gum tissue is stitched back into place. After being placed in your jawbone, a dental implant will begin bonding with the bone as your body heals through a process called osseointegration. As your jaw and mouth heal, the implant will also attach to your gum tissue.
During another appointment, the dentist will attach the abutment to the rod, before using a tooth replacement to cap the abutment, leaving you with a functional, natural-looking tooth.
Bone graft material can be taken from your own body (autogenous), purchased from a human tissue bank (allograft) or an animal tissue bank (xenograft). In some cases, synthetic material is used (alloplast). The material is then transplanted to the jawbone.
It may take a number of months after a bone grafting procedure for the transplanted bone to generate enough new tissue to support a dental implant being integrated into your jawbone.
Once your jawbone has sufficiently healed, your dentist can surgically place the implant into the bone. This stage may also take a few months before it is properly healed.
The next step is to place the abutment (an extension of the implant's metal post) into the jaw. After another period to allow the soft tissue to heal, the dentist will take molds or impressions of the teeth and jawbone before inserting the tooth replacement.
A Healthier Smile
While bone grafting and dental implant procedures can take some time, the process can leave you with healthier teeth and help protect your oral and overall health from the consequences of bone deterioration and missing teeth.