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Dental implants have revolutionised modern dentistry. They offer an effective way to replace missing teeth due to severe tooth decay, infection, gum disease or trauma. Many people are aware of the benefits of dental implants, but one facet of this procedure that is not commonly known is the need for a bone graft for a dental implant. 

 

Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?

A bone graft is a routine procedure to stabilise the bone tissue in the jaw. During the surgery for dental implants, a small hole is drilled into the patient’s jawbone to hold the implant, which is a small titanium post that anchors the artificial tooth in place. To do this, the bones in the jaw must be sufficiently wide and stable to hold and fuse with the post.    

Bone grafting is usually recommended when the patient has had a traumatic injury to the jaw, or they have extensive tooth decay. In these cases, bone tissue may have been lost due to atrophy or deterioration. If your jawbone has deteriorated or isn’t strong enough, the pressure exerted on the jaw from repeated chewing can damage the dental implant and increase the risk of dental implant failure.

When your dentist determines there is not adequate bone tissue to support the dental implants, they recommend a bone graft. A bone graft uses bone pieces from your body combined with dried bone pieces from a human cadaver jawbone to add bone mass to the jaw. Some patients may also be candidates for synthetic bone graft material depending on the severity of damage to the natural jawbone. 

 

Bone Graft Procedure

A bone graft for a dental implant is a common procedure that can be performed in the dentist’s surgery as an outpatient

Before the surgery, anaesthesia or IV sedation is administered to prevent any discomfort. Your dentist cleans the area, then makes an incision through the gum tissue to expose the area that requires the bone graft.

If you are receiving bone from your own body, your dentist makes a second incision to harvest the healthy bone tissue.

The healthy bone tissue, or combined bone tissue, is then placed between the two sections of bone that need to fuse. 

Your dentist may need to make some additional repairs to the surrounding tissue; then they will close the incision site.

The healing time may take several weeks to allow for jawbone to regenerate in order for the dental implants to be placed. You will then need several more weeks to heal after the implants are placed before the abutment and crown can be attached. 

 

Types of Bone Grafts

 

  • Socket Graft

The most common bone graft for a dental implant is the socket graft. The purpose of this type of graft is to protect the alveolar bone and to prevent it from deteriorating. This procedure places new bone directly into the socket where the tooth has been removed and creates a firm base for the dental implant. It also stabilises the socket as the area heals. Usually, a dental implant can be used within 4-6 months once the bone has bonded with the surrounding bone tissue. 

 

  • Block Bone Graft

When there has been a major injury to the jaw as a result of an accident or other trauma, the jaw could have many defects. In this instance, your dentist will take a large block of bone from the back of the jaw and hold it in place with titanium screws until it bonds with the surrounding bone tissue. The dental implants can then be inserted once this bone and the gums and tissue heals. 

 

  • Lateral Ridge Preservation Graft

Sometimes the patient’s jaw is not wide enough to hold the dental implants. In this case, human bone is most commonly used to increase the width of the jaw, enabling the procedure to continue. 

 

  • Sinus Lift Procedure

The upper jaw is usually not stable enough to hold a dental implant on its own. When there is a need for an implant in the upper jaw, it is common practice to use equine bones to build a suitable base for the dental implants. The bones of a horse are used because they are very similar to human bone and also because they do not dissolve as quickly as bones from a human. The bones create added support for the sinus cavity and promote bone growth in the sinus area. Healing for this surgery before getting dental implants may take from 4-9 months due to the sensitive anatomy of the sinus cavity. 

 

Final Thoughts

Although getting dental implants is a standard surgical procedure, some patients may require a bone graft for the dental implant to sit more securely in the jawbone. 

The staff at Dapto Dentists have the expertise and knowledge to ensure that when you receive your dental implants and bone grafting procedure, it will be performed professionally and with the greatest of care. If you need dental implants and want more information about bone grafting, contact us today on (02) 4044 5520 to book a consultation.