When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants are simply in a class of their own. They are the only treatment that restores both the root and crown of a tooth, and they actually fuse to the jawbone just like a natural tooth. However, if a patient’s jawbone is too thin or brittle to support implants as is, your dentist in Midland may need to strengthen it using a bone grafting procedure. Bone grafting is often the key to helping patients rebuild their smiles who would otherwise be ineligible for dental implants. Why would a person need it? How does it work? We answer these questions today.
Why is Bone Grafting Necessary for Dental Implants?
It is very common for the jawbone to actually shrink and resorb after tooth loss. Healthy bones need a consistent supply of blood to stay strong and thick, and tooth roots are an important part of this when it comes to the jawbone. When a tooth goes missing, the body senses that there is no longer a tooth to support, so blood flow naturally decreases to the area of the jaw, and important nutrients are sent elsewhere.
This can cause the jaw to slowly shrink and change shape over time. People who have dealt with tooth loss for a long time will usually need some type of bone grafting procedure before getting dental implants.
Bone grafting is also often needed if a patient is suffering from severe periodontal (gum) disease, which can literally break down the bone tissue that supports the teeth. In this case, the infection needs to be eliminated before any bone grafting can be done.
The Basics of Bone Grafting
The goal of a bone graft is to increase the height and thickness of the jawbone in the area(s) where the dentist intends to place implants. This will help the jaw provide a proper foundation to keep the new teeth in place.
Will You Need a Bone Graft?
Your dentist will determine if a bone graft is necessary after examining the state of your jawbone at an initial implant consultation. Sometimes, a bone graft can actually be completed on the same day that the implants are placed. However, if the bone graft is quite large, your dentist may give you time to heal before proceeding with the implant procedure.
Thanks to modern dental technology and techniques, most patients report feeling very little discomfort both during and after receiving a bone graft. If you talk to your dentist about getting dental implants and they recommend that you undergo a bone graft, just know that it’s their way of ensuring that your new smile will look great and last for a very long time.
About the Author
Dr. Christensen is a general, cosmetic, and implant dentist based in Midland, TX. He has many years of experience and has taken hours of continuing education specifically dedicated to placing and restoring implants, making him the local expert when it comes to rebuilding smiles. If you’re interested in getting dental implants, he’s the person to talk to, and he can be contacted through his website for more information.