Dental Implants Often Require Bone Grafting
Dental implants are becoming an effective solution for many individuals that want an aesthetically pleasing smile, and a permanent solution to missing, failing or broken teeth. This outpatient surgery usually involves intensive procedures where damaged teeth are removed, bone grafting is performed to bolster the jawbone, the implant is screwed into place, a metal post a secured implant, and finally a permanent prosthetic tooth or dentures are attached to the post.
Many individuals that have lost teeth also lose significant bone structure to the upper or lower jaw. Lost teeth can be the result of a variety of health conditions that include:
- Infections in dental cavities (caries)
- Gum and periodontist disease
- Trauma or injury to the tooth and/or jaw
- A developmental defect at birth, or through aging
When the bone just below the gum line does not have enough height and/or width, additional bone must be grafted to the jaw before the dental implant can be positioned. Through bone augmentation, the grafting will fuse to existing bone, creating a solid structure strong enough to provide a solid base for the dental implant screwed into the jawbone.
For implant surgery to be successful, there must be a substantial amount of bone to accept the device. Because of that, a dentist will perform bone grafting to maximize the success rate of the dental implant surgery. Often times, this routine is a painless and predictable procedure.
Usually, the bone grafting surgery is minimally invasive and can be easily managed in an office (ambulatory) environment. While decades ago dentist harvested bone from the patient (autogenous graft), modern technology allows the dentist to use bones harvested from animals, primarily cows (bovine). This material is a xenograft comprising of natural bone mineral content thoroughly sterilized with the removal of all organic material.
Tissue regeneration is necessary at the site, to ensure that there is adequate bone tissue to provide support to the dental implant. The procedure produces an environment for “guided tissue regeneration” where the patient’s body is biochemically tricked to recognize the implanted graft as the patient’s natural bone. Over time, the body resorbs the grafted bone and replaces it with native bone from the patient.
Bone graft success rates are high, with many patients able to move through the process within a few months. However, bone grass can fail, even when the patient’s own bone material is used. Material that fails to properly graft to existing bone is removed. Often times, the doctor will attempt a second graft in an effort to produce more successful results.
In some incidences, a patient may have lost their teeth years ago, which could likely prevent adequate restoration of their teeth. In many incidences, denture wearers have a large jawbone that has receded to severely so that the denture cannot properly fit. As a result, doctors will perform a big bone graft to provide a solid base for missing teeth. The big bone graft serves as a solid foundation for numerous dental implants to hold dental implant supported dentures, or permanently fixed prosthetic teeth.
Because bone grafting is necessary in many tooth restorations, it can be rather extensive. However, even for patients that do not have adequate bone width or height for a solid tooth replacement can restore their teeth to a natural smile through bone grafting procedures.
In some incidences, bone grafting surgery is covered by insurance, where there has been significant trauma caused by an accident or incident. Some dental offices offer payment options to provide a solution for individuals that want and need this highly technical smile enhancing procedure.
Many individuals choose not to wear dentures or they live their life without teeth. Recent advancements in implant dentistry has made this highly specialized field an affordable solution for restoring the smile to its original appearance. Many of the complications associated with bone graft surgeries are temporary. However, being able to smile, talk, laugh, and eat any type of food can last a lifetime.