Are you considering dental implants, but the thought of bone grafts makes you nervous? Most people can successfully obtain dental implants that will last many years, and bone grafting will enhance the new tooth or teeth’s support system. It may be a necessary step before dental implants, let’s take a look at why:
For some, bone grafts are required before dental implants because of inadequate bone. A dental implant is a titanium root replacement. It is inserted into the jaw, and as the bone heals, it incorporates the root into the mouth structure. However, you have to have a good foundation for the titanium root to be placed, otherwise the restored tooth won’t look or feel natural, and the implant will fail. Adequate bone structure is needed for an implant to integrate properly. This is where bone grafting comes in. Bone grafting is a surgical procedure used to replace the missing bone, and provide the needed support for a dental implant to be successful.
The most common reasons you may need bone grafts prior to dental implants include:
- The bone has insufficient width- This may be due to abnormalities in growth, or damage, but sufficient width is needed for an implant to anchor successfully.
- Insufficient bone height- This is critical as it ensures the dental implant is properly anchored to support the stress of biting and chewing food.
- Not enough bone thickness- Again, without proper thickness, the implant would not be secure enough to facilitate chewing and biting foods.
- Inadequate bone as a result of previous tooth or teeth removal- Sometimes when teeth are pulled or fall out, bone comes with, leaving an unstable or insubstantial amount, not allowing for a secure implant.
- Not enough bone due to gum disease or injury- Gum disease and injury can lead to there not being enough bone for a successful dental implant.
- Inadequate bone due to developmental defects that affect bone growth in the jaw.
- Insufficient bone caused by the removal of cysts or tumors in the mouth- If the removal of a cyst or tumor also required the removal of some of the bone, there may not be enough left for the dental implant to be successful.
There are a number of procedures that can be used to accomplish a successful bone grafting, such as sinus augmentation. Consult with a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon about your specific needs to determine which options will offer you the most success. They will carefully review your history, the condition of your mouth, and get the proper x-rays and scans to determine whether or not a bone graft will be needed prior to dental implants.