Dental implants are a wonderful option for permanently replacing missing teeth. Though the treatment process is long, the results of secure, natural-feeling teeth make it well worth it. If you’ve suffered from long-term tooth loss, you may require a bone graft before dental implants can be placed. Brooklyn dentist Gary Herskovitz offers this overview of bone grafting and dental implants.
Why a Bone Graft May Be Needed for Dental Implant Treatment
Dental implants are small titanium posts implanted within the jawbone. The jawbone eventually grows around the dental implant, creating a secure bond. Once fully bonded within the bone, a dental restoration, like a porcelain crown, can be attached to the implant to complete treatment.
In some cases, a bone graft may be needed before the dental implant can be placed. Bone grafts are required when the jawbone is insufficient for implant placement. It is not uncommon for the jawbone to be found insufficient in long-term tooth loss sufferers. This is because the jawbone will recede in areas of tooth loss. Fortunately, a bone graft may be performed to rebuild the missing jawbone.
What Is the Treatment Process for Bone Grafting?
Before any dental implant treatment plan, a thorough dental exam will be performed. During this examination, oral health will be assessed and x-rays will be taken. The X-rays will be used to determine the condition of the jawbone. If the jaw is found to be insufficient, a bone graft will be scheduled.
The bone graft procedure may sound scary but it’s actually quite routine and most find it relatively painless. During the bone grafting procedure, either a small piece of bone harvested from the patient’s own body (generally from the hip) or a synthetic material will be placed within the jaw, generally through a small incision in the gums. Once the graft is placed, any incisions will be closed and the patient will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site.
Before the dental implant can be placed, the bone graft must be fully integrated into the surrounding jaw. It may take five to nine months for the jawbone to fully heal around the bone graft. Once the jaw is healed, dental implant surgery will be scheduled.
Dental Implant Treatment
Dental implant surgery will be performed once the jawbone is ready. Dental implant surgery is often equated to feeling similar to a tooth extraction and is performed on an outpatient basis. During dental implant surgery, a small incision is made in the gum tissue to access the jawbone. A small hole is then drilled into the bone and the dental implant is placed.
Once the implant is placed, the jawbone must again be allowed to heal and fuse to the implant in a process called osseointegration. Osseointegration can take two to six months after which point, an abutment is placed and the final restoration is attached.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information on dental implants and bone grafting, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Herskovitz.