Dental implants present a fantastic alternative to traditional dentures. When teeth are lost due to extraction or a traumatic accident, replacements can be anchored directly into the jaw. These new prosthetic teeth remain permanently fixed in place, and they function in the same manner as the original ones. Cosmetically, the implants appear indistinguishable from natural teeth. The days of removable dentures appear to be receding into the past, and that’s not surprising. Just consider the vast superiority of dental implants over dentures.
When seeking this procedure, candidates do tend to worry about the condition of their jaws. After performing a little research, some might wonder if they can pursue this dream without first undergoing bone grafting for dental implants. Before discussing bone grafts, look at what the actual dental implant procedure requires.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Contrary to what many assume, prosthetic teeth do not constitute the actual implants. The term dental implant refers to the metal component that is surgically inserted in the jawbone. These implants allow for the stable placement of prosthetic bridges or crowns.
What holds the actual metal implants in place? A hole drilled into the jawbone allows for their insertion, and the bone in the jaw must grow and fuse to them. Solid fusion is necessary in order for the implants to stay firmly situated.
Unfortunately, there might not be enough bone in the jaw to constitute a proper base, but this does not mean that the candidate would necessarily be disqualified from the procedure. Bone grafting for dental implants is a common solution to the problem.
Loss of Bone Density
You might wonder why the bone in the jaw has been weakened. A lack of bone density makes placing implants difficult, and that lack often results from gum and dental disease. The same problems that affect a tooth can spread to the jaw and cause deterioration of the bone. Other factors also contribute to the condition. For example, bone density tends to lessen with age, but thanks to grafting procedures, decreased bone density can be addressed.
How Does a Bone Graft Work?
A bone graft can be thought of as a type of transplant. Basically, the dentist moves bone from one area of the body to another. A common donor site is the back of the bottom jaw. From this area, a small amount of bone can be safely removed and placed in another location where it will merge with the existing structure and thrive.
This transfer of your own bone might not even be necessary. Various bone grafting materials have been developed to promote new growth. Some are organic, and others are synthetic.
The patient will need to wait some time before the implant procedure can be performed. Drilling cannot be done in a weak area of the jaw, and newly grafted bone won’t be strong enough to handle the surgery or hold the mental implants. The waiting period will allow the graft and the natural bone to fuse together. Once they’ve done so successfully, the procedure can move forward.
Many patients have told us that dental implants gave them a new lease on life. No one today needs to suffer from missing teeth or resort to traditional dentures.