As you begin to discuss the possibility of replacing some or all your missing or damaged teeth with dental implants, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon is going to evaluate your jaw bone. This bone is one of the most important components of dental implants.
A dental implant to replace a missing tooth consists of three parts:
● The crown: The part that you will see as “your tooth” once the procedure is done
● The implant: It is a metal post that is implanted into your jaw bone
● An abutment: This connects the crown and anchor
In the case of a missing or damaged tooth, the jaw bone beneath the socket of the tooth can develop problems over time. If this happens, it can become too soft to support an implant or even grow too thin to provide a proper anchor for your new implant. If your oral and maxillofacial surgeon finds this to be the case, a bone graft will be advised to you before your actual implant surgery.
This may sound scary but, it’s becoming a more common procedure. Most of the fear and anxiety patients feel when they are informed that a bone graft is necessary is from a lack of knowledge of how it works.
What is a bone graft?
A bone graft is when a piece of healthy bone is taken from another part of your body and surgically attached to your jaw bone, allowing it to bond with and grow into your existing bone. Of course, instead of a piece of bone from your body, advances in the field have seen the introduction of specialized bone-grafting material that will do the same job of helping your body to rebuild your weakened jaw bone.
In most cases, this new material is used, which makes the process simpler. If you’re going to need a bone graft, here’s what you can expect, starting with how badly your existing bone needs help.
If your jaw bone is only minimally weakened due to thinning or softening, it may be possible for the graft and the installation of your implants to be done at the same time. If the problem is too large, however, it will lengthen the amount of time it will take to get your implants.
Sometimes, a bone graft must be performed before installation. Once completed, you will then have to wait until the graft has successfully healed and strengthened to your jaw bone for it to support an implant.
It can take several months after the graft is performed before you are able to schedule your dental implant procedure. This may seem like a long wait, but it’s very important for the success of your implant. If the graft isn’t allowed to fully create enough new bone to provide a good anchor point for the post, your implant could fail.
Unfortunately, there is no way to know which type of bone graft you may need, or even if you need one at all. At Maxillovendôme, your dental professional can make that decision after a complete examination.