Dental implants offer a permanent solution for people who have lost teeth. For some dental implant candidates, the procedure may require bone grafts before the implants are put in place. If your dentist has told you that you might need bone grafts, here are a few facts you should know about this additional procedure.
The Purpose Of Bone Grafts
Dental implants are held in place by special screws that are sunk into the jaw bone. For patients with bone degeneration, the screws may not be able to stay in place. Bone grafting can prevent dental implant failure and make it easier to eat your favorite foods, just as you would with regular teeth. Patients getting dental implants after undergoing treatment for oral cancer may require bone augmentation.
Where Do The Bone Grafts Come From?
Traditional bone grafts are performed by taking a small portion of bone from your body and placing it in the jaw. In some cases, the bone can be grafted from another area in your mouth, and other times it may come from a larger bone, such as a hip bone. You may also be able to get bone from a donor, or your dentist may choose to use synthetic bone material to anchor your implants. Be sure to talk to your dentist about all of the available options to choose the one that makes the most sense for you.
What Happens After The Bone Graft?
Depending on the condition of your jaw, your dentist may be able to perform the bone graft and dental implant surgery at the same time. If not, you will have to return to the dentist's office once your jaw is ready for the implant procedure. Your dentist will place the holes in the bone for the synthetic tooth root, and insert the new roots. You'll then need to wait until the jawbone grows around the root and unites with the tooth roots. Once this process is complete, your dentist will put your new teeth in place. Ask your dentist about partials you can wear while the bone continues to grow around the roots, as this process can take up to 6 months to complete. The partials will make it easier to eat and help you to feel more comfortable when talking and smiling.
Bone grafts offer a convenient way to make dental implants a possibility, even for people who have soft jaw bones or not enough bone material for the implants. Talk to your dentist and be sure to ask any questions you may have so you fully understand everything that is involved with your bone graft and dental implant procedures.
Contact a dentist like Bruce Mathes DDS to learn more.