Being told you need a bone graft to get a dental implant may sound scary, but it’s a relatively minor procedure commonly used with dental implants.
Bone grafting for dental implants is required when a patient’s jaw bone structure is insufficient to provide support for implants to be used to replace missing teeth. The aim is to reconstruct lost bone to enable the placement of dental implants.
Dentists use various bone regeneration techniques. Generally, a bone graft involves using the patient’s bone (taken from the mouth or other parts of the body) or dental biomaterials surgically inserted by a dentist experienced in oral surgery and implantology into the areas that need regeneration.
Why not get a consultation at your local dental clinic to assess your jaw bone’s health should you plan to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant?
Common causes of bone density loss include the following:
- Trauma or injury to the mouth or facial areas
- After tooth extraction – in the empty space where the extracted tooth was
- Periodontal disease – chronic inflammation and infection in the gums
- Developmental defects
Who requires bone grafting for dental implants?
A bone graft is usually needed for patients with bone loss in their jaw. A dentist may recommend the procedure if you
- Hope to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant
- Are having a tooth extracted
- Have areas of bone loss due to periodontal disease
- Need to rebuild the jaw before receiving dentures
A visit to a dentist that offers consultation for dental implants will determine if implants are suitable for you and whether a bone graft is required.
Bone grafting for dental implants – how it works
A bone graft is an effective method of reconstructing or repairing bone and involves transplanting bone tissue in the region of bone loss. Bone grafting for dental implants is usually carried out under local anaesthesia, except for complex cases where a patient may need to be sedated with general anaesthesia.
During surgery, a small incision is made into the gums, and the tissue is moved back slightly to expose the jaw bone. The dentist then inserts the bone grafting material and closes the incision with sutures. In some cases, PRP (platelet-rich plasma) is combined with the bone graft to stimulate healing and tissue regeneration. The body utilises the tissue to grow new cells and recreate the bone in that area.
Types of bone grafts
There are various types of bone grafts used in different situations. These include:
Socket graft – this is placed in the empty socket following a tooth extraction to prevent the sides from caving in. Sometimes a dental implant can be placed simultaneously, depending on the individual’s case.
Ridge augmentation – If a patient has been missing teeth for a while, the supporting jawbone may have less width and density than before. Ridge augmentation increases the volume and width of the jawbone to provide a stable foundation for dental implants or other restorations.
Sinus lift – When a person is missing their upper back teeth, the maxillary sinuses that sit just above can drop down and move into the space previously occupied by the teeth roots. A dentist would be unable to place dental implants for fear of penetrating the sinus membrane. A sinus lift aims to raise the sinus back to its original position. The dentist then places a dental bone graft beneath the sinus to create a solid foundation for implants later.
Periodontal graft – When gum disease is severe, the bacteria in the mouth and the diseased tissue can lead to bone reabsorption. In this situation, a dentist may recommend a bone graft to restore the lost bone enabling it to support a tooth or dental implant.
In most cases, a patient must wait 2-9 months for a bone graft to heal fully before receiving a dental implant.
Recovery and post-operation
Their implant dentist monitors a patient’s recovery. They must follow the post-operation instructions provided by the dentist to guarantee a successful outcome. Painkillers and antibiotics will be prescribed to ease pain following surgery and prevent infection.
More significant bone grafts may cause considerable inflammatory reactions in some cases. While not always painful, they may cause notable bruising and swelling, which should vanish within a week or two.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to prevent infection in the graft, which endangers the aim of the procedure. The chances of generating bone are minimal once a graft becomes infected. A patient should heal well by following instructions and attending the dental clinic regularly for the ensuing weeks and months. They should also adopt a soft diet in the early days and avoid spitting, brushing over the area, and using mouthwash vigorously.
How long does it take to achieve bone regeneration?
It takes several months for the body to accept the bone graft and generate new, strong bone. Waiting time can be between two and nine months, depending on the regeneration technique used, the type of defect, and a person’s ability to heal.
This biological process can’t be rushed, or there’s a risk of losing what has been achieved. Patients must exercise patience. If you’re waiting to undergo dental implant surgery, your implant dentist can tell you when your bone is sufficiently strong to support an implant.
So, there you have it. All you need to know about bone grafting for dental implants. Need more information? Want to see if you’re a suitable candidate for a dental implant? Get a dental consultation near you at Pearl Dental Care in St Marys, 2760 or call us on (02) 9158 6312.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Science Direct – Dental Biomaterials
PubMed – Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in dental and oral surgery: from the wound healing to bone regeneration