Why Bone Grafts Prior to Dental Implants?
Dental implants are basically screws that are inserted into the jaw. As the bone heals and incorporates those screws, you have a good, solid foundation for securing a restorative tooth that will look and feel natural. In order to set that implant, however, the dentist must have an adequate structure of existing bone. In some people, the bone is simply too narrow and/or shallow to provide a stable foundation for implants. As well, in some cases the original bone might have been suitable for an implant, but disease or decay, probably starting with infection from the teeth that were lost or removed, has weakened the bone so that it is unable to support an implant.
The good news is that problems or insufficiencies in the underlying bone structure do not automatically eliminate you as a candidate for dental implants. With modern bone grafting techniques, you can still benefit from the superior qualities of dental implants over dentures or removable bridges.
Options for Bone Grafts
A bone graft is a way of building up your existing bone so that it can provide a stable base for dental implants. The bone in your jaw can be stimulated to grow either through natural or synthetic means. Dr. Tudose can help determine the best method of bone grafting for your specific case. Alternatives include one or a combination of these options:
- Collecting bone from your own mouth as the implant site is prepared and reusing that bone for grafting purposes. This is the simplest method of bone grafting and can be done from the dental chair.
- Synthetic materials are sometimes used to simulate bone growth or your own blood factors can be used to help promote growth or accelerate the process.
- In cases where the top jaw above the back teeth has insufficient bone for holding implants, the sinuses are lifted, and bone is inserted into the sinus chambers to grow enough structure to secure dental implants.
The goal in each of these cases is to help the patient grow new and healthy bone tissue that will support the dental implant procedure.