Why Bone Grafts are Needed With Dental Implants

You need to replace a missing tooth. You’ve done extensive research, and you’ve decided dental implants are the way to go. But your doctor is saying you need a bone graft first. Why? And what is a bone graft anyway?

Jawbone Health

Did you know that chewing keeps your jawbone healthy by providing regular stimulation? Without stimulation, your jaw, specifically the alveolar bone that anchors the teeth, will begin to degenerate as your body sends minerals elsewhere. Unfortunately, this process begins the moment you lose a permanent tooth. In addition to inadequate bone mass for dental implant support, jawbone loss can lead to:

  • Collapsed facial structure
  • Skin wrinkling
  • TMJ pain and headaches
  • Complications with the remaining face
  • Nutrition and speech issues
  • Nerve encroachment
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Why You May Need a Bone Graft

Dental implant placement requires adequate jawbone mass and structure. Without sufficient bone, dental implants can fail early or have trouble fusing with the jawbone. Without bone to support the soft tissues, receding gums, exposure of the implant fixture, and food traps can also occur. For this reason, bone grafting is sometimes necessary before an implant can be placed (or at the time of implant placement).

After tooth extraction, if the walls of the socket are thin the bone can dissolve and there will not be sufficient bone for future implant placement. For optimal esthetics, maintaining the vertical height of bone is critical. Bone grafting will maintain the width and height of bone you will need for implant placement several months later.

Jaw with inadequate front bone structure to support a dental implant
1. Inadequate Bone
Placed bone grafting material to increase the bone structure
2. Graft Material Placed
Dental implants placed after bone grafting
3. Implants Placed

A routine procedure, bone grafting is required for many dental implant patients. The most common reasons our patients need bone grafting before implant placement include:

  • Missing a tooth for several months (or longer)—Your jawbone begins to deteriorate as soon as you lose a tooth or have an extraction.
  • Trauma or infection—This can cause a defect in the bone.
  • Missing front teeth—Because they are thin, the walls of the front teeth sockets often have a difficult time regenerating on their own.
  • Large or low sinus cavities— You may also need bone grafting if the sinus cavities in your upper jaw are very large, or very low, and extend into the tooth-bearing areas. This often occurs when teeth in the back of a person’s upper jaw have been removed many years before, and the amount of bone available for implant placement is limited. A “sinus grafting procedure” is then required. Most often, it is performed in the office with local anesthesia and perhaps sedation. During this procedure, the membrane that lines the sinus will be located and elevated. Bone will then be added to restore the bone height and ensure that dental implants of an adequate length can be placed. This procedure often can be performed at the time of implant placement.
Jaw lacking enough bone in the back of the mouth for a dental implant
1. Inadequate Bone
Dental implant after adding jaw structure with bone grafting
2. Graft Material and Implant Placed

There’s a Solution

Bone grafting is a very common procedure during which we place donated bone (or your own bone taken from another site in your mouth) into the area that needs bulking up. Your body naturally grows new bone as your jaw heals during the next several months, and the donated bone grafts develop into your own bone over time. Donated bone grafts have been used for over fifty years and are a safe method for restoring the lost jawbone.

Carroll Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is proud to offer the highest level of periodontal and implant care. In addition to the latest treatments and technologies, a genuine passion for patient care allows us to provide only the best bone grafting experiences. For more details on what it means for us to build the foundation of your dental implants with a bone graft, please give us a call! Carroll Periodontics Office Phone Number 410-857-5700

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