Dental Implants and Bone Grafting
If tooth loss makes you want to hide your smile or causes pain while eating, dental implants may be right for you. Dental implants are small titanium posts that can be paired with different types of restorations to restore missing teeth while also improving dental function and comfort.
Many people with missing teeth make excellent candidates for dental implants but some may require a bone graft before dental implants can be placed.
At Bell Dental, Dr. Brian Bell helps patients prepare for dental implants and bone grafting at our Lake Jackson, TX, practice. We welcome you to schedule a consultation to find out if dental implants are right for you. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at dental implants and bone grafting.
What Is a Bone Graft and Why Is It Sometimes Needed?
Bone grafting is a procedure in which a small portion of bone taken from the patient’s own body (commonly the hip) or a synthetic material is used to replace missing bone tissue.
A bone graft is sometimes needed before a dental implant can be placed in order to restore the jawbone, which can atrophy, or disintegrate, as a result of prolonged tooth loss.
Once a bone graft is performed, the surrounding bone tissue will bond with the graft and, once healed, an implant may be placed.
When Is a Bone Graft Necessary?
Before dental implants can be placed, X-rays are taken of the teeth and jaw to evaluate whether there is sufficient bone tissue to support an implant.
If there isn’t sufficient bone tissue, a bone graft will be planned and performed to rebuild the missing area of bone tissue.
What Is the Bone Graft Process Like?
Once a grafting material is obtained and ready to be placed, the grafting procedure begins with us numbing the treatment area. We also provide other sedation dentistry options to our Lake Jackson patients when needed.
After the patient is comfortable, a small incision is made in the gums to reveal the underlying jawbone. The jawbone is treated and prepared, and the grafting material is set in place. A special membrane is often used to cover the bone graft and protect it during the healing process.
To finish the grafting procedure, the gum tissue is put back in place over the jawbone and graft, and the incision is closed with small stitches.
How Soon Can a Dental Implant Be Placed?
Although most people will feel recovered within a week or two, it takes longer for the jawbone to fully heal, about three to nine months.
In order to place a dental implant after a bone graft, the jawbone must be sufficiently healed. The exact amount of time will vary based on individual healing speeds. In most cases, this is around four months, but some patients may require more or less time.
Dental Implant Placement after Bone Grafting
When the jawbone is healed enough for dental implant placement, the dental implant procedure is essentially the same as if no bone graft was needed.
A small incision is made in the gum and a small hole is drilled into the bone. The implant is then placed into the hole and the incision closed.
With a traditional dental implant, the bone must heal and bond to the implant before the final dental restoration can be placed, such as a dental crown or implant-supported dentures. This can take several months, but once fully healed, dental implants help create a natural feeling and looking solution for replacing missing teeth.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information about dental implants and bone grafting, message us online or call our Lake Jackson office at (979) 297-1201.