Why Is Bone Grafting Necessary for Dental Implants?

Illustration of teeth showing bone grafting and dental implant structure

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Do you dread being photographed, because your smile makes you self-conscious? Or perhaps you avoid smiling altogether due to missing teeth. If so, you’re not alone. 

Many people report lower self-esteem when they are missing their teeth, and this, in turn, prevents them from living life to the fullest. Moreover, studies have found a link between missing teeth and depression or anxiety. 

Fortunately, bone grafts allow many who have been missing their teeth for a long time a chance to regain their smile. Continue reading for more information about bone grafting and how they make it possible to place implants.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

The dental implant procedure has several stages, and if you need bone grafting, it’s done first. Then, after the bone has healed, your doctor will place your implant.

Most people think the implant is the whole replacement tooth, but the implant portion actually refers to the part that looks like a small metal screw. When integrated into your bone, it functions as the root of your tooth.

After some healing time, your doctor will uncover the implant that is now hidden under gum tissue to add another part of the implant system; the abutment. The abutment connects the crown (the part that looks like a tooth) to the implant. Finally, at this point, you are ready for your permanent tooth.

Integrating the implant into your bone leads to one of the main benefits of dental implants; they operate as your regular teeth would. 

What Is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting helps rebuild the bone in your jaw, so that it can safely support your new replacement teeth. Your doctor will often use donor bone tissue, but they can also take it from a second surgical site. Your oral surgeon will place the bone tissue where needed, often directly in the tooth socket. 

Sometimes your doctor will place a bone graft at the same time as an extraction. This is called socket preservation and will help prevent the future loss of bone in that area. 

Another common kind of bone grafting is called ridge augmentation, which helps rebuild the width and height of your jaw bone. There is also a sinus lift graft, which creates more room for upper implants. 

After your procedure, you will need approximately six months of healing time for the bone to fully integrate and be stable enough to support your implant.

When Is Bone Grafting Required Before Dental Implants?

For all types of dental implants, your doctor will use 3D imaging from your CT scan to determine whether bone grafting is necessary. Using this image, your oral surgeon will see the quality of your bone and its height and width. They will find whether your bone can fit and support a replacement tooth (or teeth), and if not, how much bone your doctor needs to regrow to accomplish that.

The most common need for bone grafting stems from bone loss due to long-term missing teeth, and the longer the teeth have been missing, the more likely it is you will need bone grafting to replace it. 

Bone Grafting Makes Dental Implants Possible

There are many tooth replacement options, but the best is with dental implants due to their strength and permanence. The only condition is that you have enough bone. Luckily, bone grafting removes that barrier to treatment for those with bone loss, so that every smile can be restored as new.

At Synergy Dental Implant and Oral Surgery Center, Dr. V. Polyakov and his team bring decades of oral and maxillofacial surgery experience to the practice. Contact us today to set up a consultation at our Reseda, CA office.

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