Bone Grafts for Dental Implants
By Stephen Rogers on November 12, 2013
Lost teeth can have a negative influence on what you eat, how you look, and how you speak. Prolonged tooth loss can even permanently affect your jaw and facial structure. When possible, many dentists recommend dental implants as the most effective tooth replacement option.
However, patients must have enough bone in their jaws to support implants. In the event you do not meet this requirement, a bone graft at our Long Island office may be able to make you a candidate for implants.
Dental Implant Candidates
In order to receive dental implants, you must be in good overall health. Any uncontrolled condition that impacts your ability to recover, such as heart or liver disease, may increase the risk of complications. Tobacco use and alcohol, particularly in the early stages of recovery, can also cause implants to fail.
Moreover, patients who have suffered bone loss in the jaw may be unsuitable for implants. Unlike other tooth replacement prosthetics, implants are attached to the jaw just like the roots of a real tooth. In order for your dental implants to properly fuse in place, there must be enough bone to support it.
Dental Bone Grafts
Although bone loss can prevent one’s candidacy for dental implants, a grafting procedure is often an effective answer to this problem. By transplanting additional bone tissue on top of one’s preexisting bone, a cosmetic dentist can reinforce the jaw for sufficient support of implants.
The procedure is surprisingly simple:
- Local anesthesia will be injected, numbing the bone, gum, and surrounding teeth. Most patients experience very little or no discomfort after this point.
- An incision will be made above the gum line where each implant will be placed, down to the surface of the jawbone.
- Grafting tissue will be placed on top of the bone and possibly held in place with screws or a soft membrane material.
- The incision(s) will be sewn with small sutures, leaving the graft to naturally bond to the jaw.
Over the next four to 12 months, the graft will fuse to the jaw through osseointegration. The first few days after surgery may leave your mouth sore, and it’s common for some swelling and bruising to occur over the first week. Afterward, however, osseointegration is painless and unobtrusive.
The material for a bone graft can come from a variety of sources. Most commonly, excess bone tissue can be acquired from another part of the body, such as the chin, hip, or another area of the mouth. A patient’s own tissue tends to result in the most successful procedures.
If a patient’s own tissue cannot be safely used, grafting material may be obtained from a donor, bovine (cow) tissue, or a synthetic source. Depending on preference and availability, your doctor may suggest one or more of these options, but all are safe and viable ways to bolster your jaw for an implant procedure.
Risks and Complications
Before surgery, speak with your doctor about any possible risk factors that may inhibit recovery. In order to diminish the risk of infection during recovery, take any antibiotics given for as long as instructed. Similarly, wear the compression garment that will likely be given to you until otherwise directed.
While rare, complications can include blood clots, nerve injury, or skin irregularities. Through a comprehensive discussion with your doctor, you can determine whether liposuction is a safe procedure for you.
Make an Appointment With Us
Dental implants are a permanent and rewarding solution to tooth loss. Even if you are not currently a candidate for implants, a consultation with one of our knowledgeable dental professionals can change that. Schedule an appointment with us to get started on the restoration process today.
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