If you’re missing one or more of your permanent adult teeth, nothing beats the long-term function and natural cosmetic effects of dental implants. Before you can get dental implants, however, it’s important to make sure you have enough healthy bone tissue to support them. Implant specialist Dr. Andy Le provides comprehensive dental implantation services, including pre-implant bone grafting, at Le Chabot Dental in San Leandro, California. To find out more, call or book your appointment online today.
If you don’t have enough bone mass, or if your jawbone is too soft, bone grafting is a necessary step before you can undergo dental implant surgery.
A jawbone that’s insufficient in any way can’t provide effective support for implants, mostly because chewing exerts a considerable amount of pressure on both the implant and the bone.
Bone grafting is a simple procedure that helps rebuild insufficient jawbone mass. It’s accomplished by surgically adding, or grafting, small granules of bone graft material onto your jaw to stimulate bone growth.
Many people are surprised to learn that they need to build up their jawbone before receiving implants, but the truth is that your jawbone is particularly susceptible to losing mass, and bone grafting is relatively common among implant patients.
If you have periodontal (gum) disease, for example, you’re far more likely to require bone grafting than someone with healthy gums. Any head or facial injuries that impacted your jaw in the past can also lead to bone loss over time.
Tooth loss is one of the most common causes of low jawbone mass. That’s because healthy teeth help maintain adequate bone tissue, while tooth loss causes the supporting bone tissue to recede gradually until your body reabsorbs it.
For this reason, patients who have worn complete dentures for many years often require bone grafting before they can receive implants.
Modern bone grafting is a painless, minimally invasive, in-office procedure performed with local anesthetic. It involves making a small incision in your gum tissue to expose the underlying bone.
Next, Dr. Le attaches the bone graft material, which contains proteins and collagen to promote bone growth. Finally, the gum tissue is closed with sutures.
In traditional bone grafting, the graft material is a small piece of bone taken from another part of your jaw or your body, such as your hip. Artificial bone graft materials are another excellent option. Dr. Le will explain your options for graft materials so that you can make an informed choice.
As your jawbone builds itself back up, the new bone replaces the graft material, which is ultimately absorbed by your body.
It can take a few weeks or several months for your bone to heal and build itself up enough to support implants, depending on the original condition of your bone and the extent of the graft.
For patients who only require a small increase in bone mass, minor bone grafting often can be performed at the same time as the implant surgery itself.