Undergoing a bone graft is often a necessary part of dental implant placement. Implants require a healthy jaw to provide a secure attachment point, preventing the post from moving around within the jaw. Unfortunately, your jaw immediately begins to lose bone after losing a tooth, and this loss is quite rapid. You can also experience bone loss if you suffered from periodontal disease, which is a common reason why people lose teeth and seek implants to replace them.
Bone grafts can be made of your own bone or synthetic bone, and they encourage your body to regenerate the jaw where they're placed. As your bone graft heals, your jaw will strengthen—eventually, it will be strong enough to support an implant. Since bone grafts are such a common part of implant dentistry, it's important to be informed about them. Read on for four things you need to know about bone grafts.
1. Bone Loss Happens Quickly After Losing a Tooth, So Quick Replacement Reduces Your Chances of Needing a Graft
Your jawbone relies on the force exhibited on it by chewing in order to remain healthy and strong. Once you have lost a tooth, no force will be transmitted to your jawbone in that location—your body will immediately begin to resorb it, resulting in lost bone. This process happens quickly. In a few months, you may not have enough bone left to support a dental implant.
For this reason, it's important to replace lost teeth shortly after losing them. If you have recently lost a tooth, you may wish to consider scheduling an appointment with a cosmetic dentist to discuss dental implants. The longer you wait before replacing the tooth, the greater your chances of needing a bone graft in that location.
2. Bone Grafts Are Important for Cosmetic Purposes as Well
The main purpose of a bone graft is to restore the strength of your jawbone, allowing it to provide strong and stable support for the implant. However, a bone graft is also important for cosmetic reasons. When you begin to lose bone, your gums in that location will also begin to rise. If you receive a dental implant without rebuilding the bone through grafting, your implant may look unnaturally long compared to its adjacent teeth due to the receding gums.
3. Socket Grafting After an Extraction Can Reduce the Chances You'll Need a Bone Graft
If you need an extraction and are considering replacing the lost tooth with a dental implant, ask your dentist about a socket graft. In a socket graft, the hollow socket left by the extraction is filled with a grafting material. This procedure is performed immediately after the extraction. Socket grafting helps to prevent bone loss in the affected area—this reduces your chances of requiring a bone graft before an implant can be placed to restore your missing tooth.
4. In Some Cases, a Bone Graft Can Be Performed When the Implant Is Placed
Depending on your health and which tooth you're replacing with a dental implant, your dentist may decide that you're a good candidate to undergo grafting on the same day that your implant is placed. This shortens the time necessary to replace a tooth with an implant—you don't have to wait for a bone graft to heal before the implant can be placed. Teeth that are not exposed to large amounts of biting and chewing forces are better candidates for same-day bone grafting. However, you may be required to restrict yourself to a special diet and eat only soft foods while your bone graft is healing in order to avoid damaging the implant.
Finally, the only way you can know for sure if you'll need bone grafting before a dental implant can be placed is to schedule an appointment with a dentist. Your dentist can assess your jaw health and determine whether or not grafting is necessary. At this appointment, you can also ask if you're a good candidate for undergoing a bone graft at the same time a dental implant is placed.
For more information, contact a company like Centre Family Dentistry.