Dental implants are a type of fixed tooth replacement procedure. They provide single tooth replacement, secure partial dentures, and accompany dental bridges. Since dental implants use the jawbone as an anchor for tooth replacement, jaw health is essential for a dental implant procedure.
Dentists perform a bone graft procedure to ensure a jawbone is strong enough to accommodate a dental implant. A bone graft for dental implants is quite common, with one study finding more than half were accompanied by a bone graft.
Learn what a bone graft is and how it relates to dental implants to know if it is right for you.
What is a Bone Graft?
A dental bone graft is a material placed in an area with bone loss to promote bone growth. The inserted bone graft acts as an outline for the patient’s jawbone to grow over. There are four main types of bone grafts and four different bone graft materials.
Socket preservation, or ridge preservation, is a bone graft placed immediately after tooth removal. It ensures that the excavated tooth socket does not cave in. Socket preservation bone grafts keep an area prepared for a dental implant.
A ridge augmentation bone graft increases the size and volume of a jawbone segment. If teeth are missing for an extended period, the jawbone can thin. Ridge augmentation reverses the thinning so dental implants can be safely used in that area. Ridge augmentation bone grafts are shown to affect dental implant success positively.
Maxillary sinus lift
Maxillary sinus lifts are another type of bone graft specific to the upper molar area of the mouth. Maxillary sinuses are located behind the upper molars in the back of the mouth.
In the absence of the upper molars, sinuses can move down into the area where the molar’s roots once were.
A dentist cannot perform a dental implant when the sinuses are in the way without risking a sinus membrane puncture.
A maxillary sinus lift moves the sinuses out of the molar’s area and places a bone graft in their place. Dental implants are placed into the bone once the site heals.
Periodontal bone graft
A periodontal bone graft is not a bone graft for dental implants because its purpose is to stop a tooth from requiring removal. A periodontal bone graft replaces the bone that has been lost to gum disease. This secures the natural tooth in place.
The Four Bone Graft Materials
The most common bone graft materials come from the patient’s body (autologous graph), animal bone (xenograft), synthetic material (alloplastic graph), or human cadavers (allograft). Synthetic material is the most common type of bone graft partially because patients prefer it and because it is as effective as other material options.
At Available Dental Care, we use the patient’s blood to assist in the bone graft process. The patient’s blood has regenerative properties, which help a bone graft for dental implants be successful.
Is a Bone Graft for Dental Implants Necessary?
Dental implants are a growing dental procedure as the average age continues to rise and removable dentures fall out of favour. The average 65-year-old in Australia has lost nearly 12 teeth, and almost half of all dental implant procedures are accompanied by bone graft procedures.
Bone grafts add cost and treatment time to a dental implant, so it is essential to be sure a bone graft is necessary. Your dentist will know if you require a bone graft.
Tooth extraction considerations
Tooth extraction can be an intense procedure that requires a long recovery time before a dental implant procedure. If this time is long enough to risk the extraction site caving in, a dentist will go ahead with a bone graft to maintain the site’s integrity. In this case, the bone graft would heal within four months, at which point it is ready for a dental implant.
Also, a tooth extraction procedure may expose a thin jawbone that requires increased bone volume to accommodate a dental implant. A bone graft for dental implants is necessary in this case. Ridge augmentation bone grafts take up to four months to heal, but there are instances when a dental implant is completed at the same time as the bone graft.
Consult Our Dentists to Find Out if You Need a Bone Graft
Bone grafts and dental implants are necessary for a healthy mouth and comfortable bite. While not all dental implants require bone grafts, there are many reasons you may need to undergo this treatment.
Contact Available Dental Care to learn more about bone grafts and if dental implants are right for you.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.