Before some people use a dental implant to replace missing or severely damaged teeth, they may need a bone graft. This surgical procedure may need to be performed in order to provide a strong, sturdy and stable foundation for the dental implant.

Learning more about bone grafting can help you understand if you may need to have this procedure performed before you can get dental implants.

A Closer Look at Bone Grafting

The natural bones in your bone are extremely strong and sturdy. Unfortunately for a lot of people as time goes on their natural bones have worn down or softened. This typically isn’t an issue, but if you are looking to get a dental implant it can prove problematic.

In order for a dental implant to be successful, it needs to be placed in a solid base. If the jaw bone has softened or worn down, the base is not solid enough to support a dental implant. A bone graft can help create a solid base for a dental implant.

A bone graft takes bone tissue and transplants it into the area where the previous bone was damaged or weakened. The bone tissue that is used for this procedure can come from a variety of different sources including a patient’s own body or from a donor. While bone from a patient is preferred as it has a higher success rate, most surgeons will use allograft bone – which is bone from a donor – because it is readily available, requires no additional surgeries, and has a high success rate.

When is a Bone Graft Necessary?

A bone graft is necessary whenever an individual wants to get dental implants but the bone in the jaw is too weak or damaged. The procedure allows a surgeon to replace the bone with a stronger base that will increase the likelihood that the dental implant will prove to be successful.

Some of the reasons why bone may weaken include:

  • Injury or trauma to the facial area
  • Development defects
  • Advanced gum disease
  • Missing teeth that were not replaced

Is There a Way to Avoid the Need for a Bone Graft?

In some cases, bone grafting can be avoided if restorative treatment for the missing tooth or teeth is performed right away. When restorative treatment is performed immediately after a tooth goes missing, there may be enough natural bone left to place the implant. If a tooth has been missing for a while, the bone will naturally start to dissolve and a bone graft will be necessary.

While replacing a missing tooth right away will reduce the chance of needing a bone graft, it isn’t always guaranteed. For some people, a bone graft is needed because development defects, gum disease, or other illnesses have caused the bone thin. This means that a bone graft will be needed no matter how quickly you decide to replace the missing tooth.

How to Tell if You Need a Bone Graft Before Dental Implants

Before you get dental implants you will need to schedule a consultation with your oral surgeon. During the consultation, your oral surgeon will take x-rays and conduct a brief oral examination. The information that is obtained from the x-rays and oral exam will help the surgeon determine if a bone graft is needed.

If a bone graft is needed, you will need to schedule the bone grafting procedure first. After the bone graft procedure is completed you will have to wait anywhere from six to nine months before the dental implants can be placed. This waiting period is necessary as the surgical area needs time to heal and it takes time for the bone to fully set. Once the bone is set, the dental implant procedure can occur.

If you live in the Melbourne, Florida area and are interested in getting dental implants, call Sedaros Oral Facial Surgery and Dental Implants to schedule a consultation. Dr. Sedaros will be able to create a customized treatment plan, that may or may not include the need for bone grafting, that will help you replace any missing or damaged teeth.