Dental implants are a great way to go about replacing missing teeth. They are the only dental restoration for missing teeth that replaces the lost tooth's roots as well as its crown. The procedure involves inserting an implant into the patient's jawbone, and that requires them to have enough healthy bone tissue there to hold the implant in place.
That is where bone grafting comes in. Dentists often recommend this procedure when a patient does not have the bone tissue needed to safely install implants. Anyone who has lost a tooth is susceptible to bone tissue loss. This is caused by their jawbone no longer being properly stimulated by the roots. A tooth's toots are there to anchor it in place and to stimulate the jaw when the tooth is being used. Bite forces are transferred through the root to the jaw, maintaining the integrity of the jaw. When a tooth is lost, the jaw loses this stimulation, so it begins to break down the same way muscles break down when they are no longer being used.
Replacing a missing tooth with restorations like bridges and dentures does not solve this problem since these prosthetics only replace the visible part of the tooth. This is one of the many reasons why a growing number of people would rather replace their missing teeth with dentures.
What goes on during bone grafting?
Bone grafting involves the dentist taking bone from other parts of the body or using an artificial bone grafting material that is grafted to areas with limited tissue. A minor bone graft is performed whenever the patient only needs a small amount of bone tissue, and implants can be installed immediately after. The patient might have to wait up to three months to recover if more extensive grafts are needed. That means getting a bone graft can increase the time it takes to get fitted with implants by three months, bringing the total time from the patient's initial visit to the time the implant is fitted with a crown to nine months. Once the patient has recovered from the bone graft, the dentist can proceed with the surgical installation of the implant.
Preparing for bone grafting
Prior to performing a bone graft, the doctor will perform a physical examination and evaluate the patient's medical history. This includes going over any medication and supplements they might be taking. The patient will typically be asked not to eat for a fixed amount of time prior to the treatment. This helps to reduce the risk of complications occurring when under the anesthesia.
During the treatment, the patient will be put under general anesthesia. An incision is then made to access the area that needs the graft. The bone tissue is shaped appropriately so it fits into the donor area. The graft might be held in place using:
The dentist wraps up the procedure by stitching up the incision and sometimes using a splint or cast to support the bone.
Need bone grafts?
Call or visit our Onalaska office to get the process started. It might be just what you need to be eligible for implants.
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