If you've been missing teeth for a while or have a history of periodontitis, you may have been told that you'll need bone grafting before getting dental implants. This is because when teeth are lost, the bone structure that once supported them begins to deteriorate. Dental implants require support from the jawbone to function properly. The jawbone can often be restored in order to support dental implants by first performing a dental bone grafting procedure.
Why Bone Grafts Are Needed
The roots of the teeth provide stimulation to the jawbone, as the teeth and jawbone interact every time we bite and chew. The jawbone no longer receives this stimulation from the roots when teeth are extracted or fall out. This signals to the body that the jawbone in this area is not needed to support teeth anymore, and the body begins to break down the bone in order to use its minerals in other parts of the body. Resorption creates a weakened jaw and can lead to facial collapse, which makes you look older than your years.
Bone resorption can also be caused by periodontal disease. When gum disease is left untreated, it spreads to the supporting bone and tissue that surrounds the roots. These supporting structures deteriorate over time as the infection attacks them. If you have gum disease, you will need treatment before getting dental implants, and you may also need bone grafting to replace any weakened parts of your jaw.
What Happens During a Bone Grafting Procedure
Bone grafts can be used to restore bone in the jaw, whether they’re needed after gum disease or tooth loss. Bone grafts are sometimes taken from the patient's own body, but most often come from a bone bank. Bone grafting is considered a minor procedure that is performed in our office.
A small incision is made in the gum tissue near where the bone needs to be rebuilt. Through this incision, the graft is placed in the weakened spot of the jawbone to encourage your body to create new bone where it is needed. Your own bone and the graft will eventually fuse together, forming a strong foundation for your dental implants.
Bone regeneration can take several months to complete. Radiographs will be taken to verify bone growth. You won't be able to undergo dental implant surgery until we know the grafts have been successful; it's critical for the outcome of your dental implant surgery that you have enough jawbone to support implants. The implants may begin to move, shift, or even fall out without this support.
Learn More About Dental Bone Grafting
Do you need dental bone grafting before getting dental implants? To learn more or schedule an appointment at one of our two locations, contact us today.