What is a bone graft?
A bone graft is designed to repair an area in the jaw where there
used to be a tooth, or areas of bone loss. Typically, a bone graft is
the first step in the process of getting a dental implant. A bone graft
can come from various sources, such as another area in the mouth,
synthetic or sterile bone from other sources.
Why do I need a bone graft?
One of the most common consequences of missing a tooth or multiple teeth, is bone loss. Following the loss of a tooth, within the first year it is common to have as much as 25% of bone loss in that area. Additionally, when teeth are lost and bone loss occurs, patients can physically appear older.
When teeth are lost or removed from the mouth and not replaced, it causes significant changes to the surrounding bone structure, which increases in proportion to the number of teeth missing. Healthy bone is maintained through stimulation provided by the everyday functioning of intact teeth. When a tooth is lost, the bone is resorbed into the body due to lack of activity, causing the surrounding teeth to drift and the bite to be altered. If more teeth are lost, this effect is more pronounced, causing drastic reduction of healthy bone tissue in the jaw.
As bone and tooth loss progress, it alters the structure and appearance of the face due to a decrease in what is called the vertical dimension - the length between the tip of the nose and chin.
This can cause premature wrinkling around the mouth, weakening of the facial muscles, and thinning of the lips - ultimately creating the appearance of premature aging.
It is important to consult with your doctor to develop a treatment plan unique to your situation that best addresses missing teeth while reducing the potential consequences caused by bone loss.
One of the best options to replace a missing tooth or teeth is a dental implant. In order to have a successful dental implant restoration, the foundation for bone will need to be preserved or placed immediately following a tooth extraction.
Bone Graft with Immediate Implant Placement
During this treatment, a dental implant and bone is placed, either by an oral surgeon or a periodontist. The site is given time to completely heal before the dental implant is ready for a crown or other permanent restoration, such as an implant denture. It typically takes 3-6 months for the site to heal following a bone graft.
In cases where a tooth is lost and the surrounding bone is damaged, your doctor may recommend a bone graft to be performed along with the implant to ensure it has enough structural support to endure the shearing forces placed on it by chewing.
The first step in this procedure is to prepare the site for placing the dental implant. Next, the implant body is placed into the bone. Once the implant is placed, synthetic bone is packed around the implant and covered with a special healing membrane, and the healing cap is then seeded onto the implant. The area is then given time to heal. Your doctor will determine when the site will be ready to place the final restoration. During this time, the graft solidifies around the implant and permanently blends into your natural bone and tissue. While healing, your doctor can provide a temporary tooth to fill the empty space.
Once fully healed, the damaged bone will have regained its original strength and stability. At a subsequent appointment, the final restoration can be placed onto the implant, restoring the area to ideal shape and function.
Bone Graft (Socket Preservation)
A bone graft can be done to repair an area of the jaw where a tooth used to be or any area in which there is bone loss. This is often the first step in replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant.
With a bone graft, bone can be taken from one area of the mouth and transferred to another. Synthetic bone or sterile bone harvested from another source can also be used. Once placed, the area is given time to heal. During this time, the graft solidifies and permanently blends into your natural bone tissue. Your doctor will let you know when your graft is fully healed.
Once completed, the damaged bone will have regained its original strength and stability, and further procedures, such as a dental implant, can be initiated.
Sinus Lift with Implant Placement
Additionally, when there is bone loss and low lying sinuses on the upper jaw, a sinus lift may be necessary prior to implant placement.
When a tooth is missing in the upper rear portion of the mouth, sometimes there is not enough bone available to support a dental implant. Were an implant to be placed, the sinus pocket around the diminished bone could be damaged. A procedure called an osteotome sinus lift can be performed to add bone to the sinus and make it stable enough to place an implant.
This procedure involves first creating an opening in the location where the implant will be placed. Then a special instrument called an osteotome is used to deliver and condense synthetic or sterile harvested bone material through the opening and into the sinus. As the bone graft is delivered into the sinus, it gently lifts the membrane upward as it begins to occupy the space. Once the bone graft is placed, the implant is placed along with a special healing cap, and the area is allowed to heal.
During this time, the synthetic material solidifies around the implant and permanently blends into the natural bone tissue. After the site has fully healed, the bone will have regained its original strength and stability, and the replacement tooth can be loaded onto the implant. With your implant placement complete, your tooth is restored to ideal shape and function.
Schedule an evaluation today
When it comes to your oral health we want you to receive the best care, which is why we work with a team of highly trained specialists. Give us a call today to schedule an evaluation for your need for a bone graft or sinus lift prior to dental implant placement.