Due to their comfortable fit and an average success rate of 90% to 95% after ten years post-surgery1, dental implants are a great option for those struggling with missing teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, tooth decay, or another infection. When someone has significant jawbone and tooth loss, bone grafting and dental implants often go hand in hand.
Dental Implant Surgery: An Overview
Dental implants involve a surgical procedure where the periodontist places a titanium post into the jawbone to act as a durable tooth root replacement. Over time, the titanium post heals into the jawbone, which is called osseointegration. Next, they place an abutment, a connector between the implant (the titanium post) and the crown. Lastly, your dentist will place an artificial tooth (a crown) on top to mimic the function and appearance of the missing natural tooth.
However, before undergoing a dental implant procedure, your periodontist will need to verify that your current jawbone will be able to support this new dental implant. Thankfully, even if you have some bone loss in your jawbone, there may still be options for you so that you can proceed with a dental implant.
What Is Bone Grafting For Dental Implant Surgery?
If you aren’t yet an optimal candidate for dental implant surgery due to bone loss, bone grafting might be the perfect solution for you! Bone grafting is a necessary step in the dental implant process for those without sufficient jawbone to hold a dental implant in place effectively. Grafting a bone involves adding bone graft to the area of missing bone to integrate the area with the rest of the jawbone.
Dental Bone Grafting and Dental Implants: Who Is The Ideal Candidate?
There are many reasons why a patient might have enough bone loss to warrant the need for a bone graft before receiving their dental implant. Some of these reasons include:
- Injury or trauma to the face and mouth
- Severe periodontal disease and infection
- Genetic defects or health conditions affecting the jawbone
- Waiting a long time to replace an extracted tooth. (Studies found that 50% of the alveolar bone width, the bone that holds the tooth sockets, is lost just 12 months after tooth extraction.2)
What Is The Dental Bone Grafting Process?
So, what, exactly, does the bone grafting process entail? Depending on the level of bone loss, the bone grafting process can range from a milder intervention to more intensive. This encompasses a mild surgical procedure in which a periodontist starts by administering local anesthesia to the patient.
Next, they will clean the affected area and make an incision at the missing tooth site. Next, your periodontist will shape and place the bone graft materials and then seal up the site for healing. While the recovery process is relatively simple, the graft can take four to six months to heal fully, integrate with the rest of the jaw, and be strong enough to support the dental implant. Sometimes it may take longer to completely heal and be ready for the next step in the process – dental implant placement.
Materials Used In Bone Grafting
The bone grafting materials used in a bone grafting procedure vary from patient to patient, including:
- Autografts: a type of bone graft using bones from another part of the patient’s body
- Allografts: this graft comes from another person’s donor bone or as a donation from a cadaver
- Xenografts: these grafts are made from the bone of an animal such as a cow, pig, or horse
- Alloplasts: a bone graft from non-bone materials from natural and synthetic sources
Most periodontists primarily use allografts for dental bone grafting procedures. However, there may be indications and situations where another bone grafting material is more appropriate for a patient.
Is a Dental Bone Graft Painful?
You will be sedated during the procedure so that you won’t feel pain during the dental bone graft. Once your anesthesia and pain medication wears off, you may experience some mild discomfort. Your periodontist will give you detailed instructions for aftercare and most patients are able to manage the discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Dental Bone Graft Recovery
Your periodontist will let you know what to expect and give directions on managing the discomfort with over-the-counter medications. They may also prescribe stronger pain medication. Applying ice packs helps to reduce pain and swelling, especially in the first day or two. You will also want to eat soft foods and avoid hot liquids and hard or crunchy foods for the first few days following your procedure. You may also want to sleep with your head slightly elevated to help prevent blood from pooling at the site of the incision. 3
Work With A Trusted Periodontist Today
To determine whether or not you need a bone graft for your dental implants, work with a trusted periodontal professional for the best surgical outcome possible. Contact our supportive team at Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester online or by phone at 585.685.2005 for care beyond your expectations!