A Comprehensive Guide to Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

Dental implants are an ideal choice for people looking for a fixed and lasting solution to missing or damaged teeth. With the proper care and maintenance, dental implants provide natural-looking teeth replacements that can improve functionality and last for years.

Dental implants involve inserting titanium implants in your jaw to anchor the new artificial teeth. This is only possible if you have the sufficient bone volume to support the implants. Bone grafting for dental implants is a necessary step for patients who do not have enough bone to hold their implants in place.

If you’re thinking about getting dental implants and bone grafting, and are confused about the different steps involved in the procedure, we’re here to answer all your questions. Read on to find out more about what bone grafting is, how it’s done and why you may need it.

What is Bone Grafting for Dental Implants?

Bone grafting for dental implants is a surgical procedure that involves using a small amount of bone material to increase bone density and volume in the area where you have missing teeth. The procedure helps create a stronger foundation for a dental implant while providing a better aesthetic result. The bone grafting material is typically taken from another area of the body and then placed in the jaw where the tooth is missing. The body then absorbs the material and regenerates the bone, creating a stronger foundation for the implant.

Who Needs a Bone Graft?

Bone grafting may be necessary for patients with inadequate bone structure in their jaw to support a dental implant. This is common when a patient has lost a tooth or teeth and has not replaced them with an implant. Bone grafting can help increase the width and height of the jawbone, allowing an implant to be inserted securely.

Not everyone who gets a dental implant needs a bone graft. It’s only needed when there is not enough bone in the jaw to support the implants. Our dentists perform a comprehensive evaluation and oral assessment with x-rays and digital impressions of your teeth and jaw to provide an accurate diagnosis and a personalised treatment plan.

What are the Different Types of Bone Grafts?

Some of the different types of bone grafts for dental implants include:

1. Socket Graft

Socket graft, also known as socket preservation, is one of the most common types of bone grafting before dental implants. It involves placing bone graft material into the socket of the extracted tooth.

Socket grafting protects and strengthens the alveolar bone, which would otherwise deteriorate after tooth removal. This is done to maintain the jawbone ridge and provide a stable foundation for a dental implant.

 2. Block Bone Graft

Block bone grafting involves taking a block of bone from the patient’s jaw or a donor and placing it over the area of the jaw that requires augmentation. It is then secured with small titanium screws until it fuses with the surrounding tissue. This type of grafting is generally used when an area of the jaw needs a large amount of bone to be replaced to restore the proper structure of the jaw. Block bone grafting is usually done when there are multiple implants needed.

3. Lateral Ridge Preservation Graft

Lateral ridge preservation grafting is done to increase the width of the jaw for better placement of dental implants. It is generally recommended for patients whose jaw is not wide enough to hold the dental implants. During the procedure, a small piece of bone is taken and transplanted into the tooth extraction site.

4. Sinus Lift Procedure

A sinus lift procedure is used to increase the amount of bone in the upper jaw. The procedure involves raising the sinus membrane that separates the sinus cavity from the jawbone and placing a bone graft to add additional bone to the area. This can be done to create a more stable base for dental implants and generally takes longer to bond (about 8 to 12 months) because the bone is placed under the sinus membrane. 

What is Involved in a Bone Grafting Procedure?

A bone grafting procedure usually involves taking bone from another part of the patient’s body or a donor and transplanting it to the jaw area where the implants will be inserted.

The site is cleaned and disinfected. You will be first given a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Our dentists will then make a small cut in your gum tissue to gain access to the jawbone. We will then secure the bone graft to the bone with screws. If you need a tooth extraction, it will be done before the bone grafting. The area is then closed with sutures.

In the next couple of months, your bone graft will heal and fuse with the surrounding tissue to provide a strong base for your dental implants. 

What Are the Benefits of Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting provides many benefits for patients having bone loss because of missing teeth, dental trauma, periodontal diseases or other factors. They include:

  1. They offer a permanent tooth replacement option

Bone grafting makes it possible to explore permanent teeth replacement options like a dental implant. This gives you a fixed and long-lasting solution to missing, broken or damaged teeth.

  1. Help restore smile appearance

Bone grafts can improve the aesthetics of a smile as they help restore the natural contours of the jawbone and provide a stable foundation to anchor your dental implants. Whether you have one or more teeth missing, bone grafting creates the base you need to replace your missing teeth and enhance your smile’s appearance.

  1. They provide a strong bite function

Because dental implants are fixed and secure, they help improve your bite, leading to better chewing and speaking ability. When you have a strong base to anchor your dental implants, the success rate of the surgery is increased, and the results are better and more lasting. 

  1. They stimulate new bone development

Bone grafts stimulate new bone development by providing a scaffold for the body’s healing cells to respond to. The graft itself acts as a replacement for the lost bone, and the body’s cells are then able to migrate to the area and form new bone tissue. 

Dental Bone Graft Recovery

The bone grafting procedure may take one and a half to two hours, depending on each individual case. It does not require you to stay overnight, and you can generally go home after the dentist gives you the go ahead. You may experience some swelling and tenderness for several days. Your dentist will prescribe over the counter medications and aftercare instructions to alleviate your discomfort.

Bone grafting for dental implants recovery time depends on the type of bone graft you get, your health and healing capacity. Bone grafts generally take 6 months to heal or more than 8 months for sinus lift grafts. After your bone graft has fused to the surrounding tissue, your dentists will insert your dental implants and new artificial teeth.

Dental Bone Graft Risks

A bone graft is generally a safe procedure with a high success rate. But all surgeries come with certain risks and complications.

Some of the risks of a bone grafting procedure include:

  • Infection – there’s an increased risk of infection if the area is not kept clean or the prescribed medications are not taken.
  • Wound breakdown – Sometimes, there are complications with the healing of the wound. Since the gum flap is stretched over the bone graft and secured with sutures, if it’s put under too much pressure, it can break down.  
  • Excessive bleeding – Bleeding can occur due to inadequate suturing or constriction of blood vessels after a bone graft. You should contact your medical practitioner immediately if there’s excessive bleeding at the wound site.
  • Nerve or tendon damage – Though uncommon, nerve damage can occur after a bone graft because of possible direct trauma to the nerve during the procedure, compression of the nerve during the healing process, or infection.

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

Bone loss in the jaw may lead to an increased risk of tooth loss, periodontal diseases, gum recession and difficulty in chewing and speaking. A dental bone graft not only allows you to get dental implants but also helps regenerate the bone and improve your oral health. If you’re looking for a permanent solution for missing or damaged teeth, the capable dentists at Mosman Fine dental can help. With treatment tailored to your dental requirements and lifestyle, we use the latest techniques and technology to provide lasting solutions for your oral needs. Whether you need bone grafting for dental implants or any other general, cosmetic or restorative dental services, we’ve got you covered. Talk to our dentists about dental implants today.

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