Dental implants are considered to be the best option for tooth replacement. But not everyone is an ideal candidate for a dental implant right away. Sometimes a bone graft procedure is required first as a preparatory measure.
What exactly are bone grafting and dental implants and what do these procedures entail? Here’s what you should know.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth and root system that completely replaces a missing tooth. During a dental implant procedure, a titanium implant is surgically placed in the jaw bone socket where the original tooth was. Titanium is a biocompatible material that can osseointegrate with the jaw bone, meaning the bone and the implant root bond to form a solid hold. This process can take a few weeks to a few months.
Once the bone and implant root have had time to bond, the abutment can be attached. The abutment is an extension of the artificial root that the crown will be attached to.
After the gums have had time to heal from this procedure, the crown can be attached. A crown is created that looks and functions like a natural tooth. The crown is cemented to the abutment and the dental implant process is complete.
It is possible to get multiple implants to replace multiple teeth if it is in your best interest. Usually implants are used to replace just one or a few teeth. If all of your teeth need to be replaced, implant supported bridges or dentures may be a more affordable option.
What is Bone Grafting and why is it sometimes required before an Implant?
A dental implant, because it is placed in the jaw bone, requires a certain amount of healthy bone structure to properly support it. If there is not enough bone density or if the bone is weak, a bone graft procedure can be performed to strengthen and fortify the bone.
In a bone graft procedure, an artificial bone or sometimes a bone fragment from the patient’s own body is surgically inserted over the jaw bone in the location where the implant will later be placed. The bone graft bonds with the existing bone and encourages regeneration, or regrowth. This increases the thickness and strength of the bone so that a dental implant can be placed successfully.
Is a Sinus Lift the same as a Bone Graft?
A sinus lift in the upper jaw is a similar procedure to a bone graft in the lower jaw. When the bone in the upper jaw is not thick enough to support an implant, a sinus lift is required. To place an implant in the upper jaw without sufficient bone density is a risky procedure, as the implant can pierce the sinus cavity and cause severe pain. Dentists perform sinus lift procedures to prevent this risk.
In a bone graft procedure a piece of the patient’s bone or an artificial bone is placed over the existing jaw bone. In a sinus lift, instead of a bone fragment, bone powder is used to pack into the area to lift the sinus and create a thicker bone structure to hold the implant.
What Causes Bone Loss in the Jaw?
When a tooth falls out or is extracted, the part of the jaw that once held it in place starts to weaken and will eventually dissolve. Without the tooth there to fortify the jaw bone and provide consistent pressure from chewing, the bone simply dies away.
This is why it is important to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible. This is also why a dental implant is considered to be the best replacement option for a tooth, because it keeps the jaw bone strong.
Bone Grafting at Holzinger Periodontics and Dental Implants
If you’re looking for a periodontist who can perform a bone grafting procedure and place your dental implant successfully, visit Holzinger Periodontics and Dental Implants. We believe in the importance of establishing healthy, sufficient bone density in the jaw before placing a dental implant. Dental implants that are hastily placed in weak bone structure are doomed to fail. Holzinger Periodontics will carefully evaluate your bone density and take the time to fortify the bone with a graft if it is necessary to prepare for an implant.
Call 860-347-8457 to schedule an appointment at our Middletown Office or 860-224-0433 for our New Britain Office. You can request an appointment at either office. We look forward to helping you restore your smile.