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bone grafting for dental implants

Will you need bone grafting for dental implants?

dental implants

Dental implants are dental devices that are used to support the teeth as roots artificially. They are applied to the teeth to improve their appearance and to replace any missing teeth.

The procedure for dental implants begins with making an opening in the structure of the teeth with the help of a dental drill. The implant is fixed tightly and is left in the jawbone for a few weeks for a process called osseointegration, or integration into the bone tissue. After complete integration of the implant in the jawbone, an artificial tooth or crown is placed above the implant with the help of an abutment.

However, in some cases the jawbone cannot fuse with the implants. This happens when there is not enough jawbone tissue available. Bone grafting is performed in such cases. It is also performed when the patient has certain health complications.

Bone grafting procedure

The procedure for bone grafting will involve the numbing of the area of operation with the help of a local anaesthetic. A small incision will be made on the surface of the gums. It will be deepened to make the jawbone visible. The area in the jawbone will be cleaned and disinfected with the help of antibacterial solutions. Then, the bone grafting material will be added to the jawbone. The bone graft material is often covered with a membrane for protection. After successful placement of the bone material, the gumline will be repositioned back into its original place and the incision will be stitched to close the opening.

After the bone grafting procedure is completed, it will be left undisturbed for a few weeks. The dental implant procedure will only be performed on the teeth after the gumline has completely healed. It will take anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months for healing and it is essential for the gumline to be stable enough to hold the implants securely. If the gumline has not completely healed and the dentist proceeds with the procedure, the patient may experience pain and discomfort. The recovery time for the gumline may vary from patient to patient and completely depends on the severity of damage to the jawbone and the cause of bone grafting. The patient will be advised to quit smoking and keep the jawbone area clean. The patient will also be suggested to follow a balanced diet to provide appropriate nutrients for quick healing of the gum line and jawbone.

 Let us try to understand other conditions in which bone grafting may be required for an implant.

Gum disease

Gum disease also known as periodontitis is a disease in which the tissues of the gum are severely affected. It usually begins with the growth of microbes or bacteria which are left untreated. It usually results in tartar build-up which slowly starts affecting the gums and teeth. It ultimately destroys the tissue of the gums and causes the loss of the tooth.

In case of tooth loss, dental implants are commonly suggested. However, teeth affected with gingivitis have to go through a procedure of bone grafting before receiving the implants. This is because a dental implant needs support from the jawbone and gumline tissue for osseointegration. In gingivitis, due to bacterial attack, the jawbone is weakened and the gumline tissue is severely affected, making it impossible to hold the implant in place.

Facial injury or trauma

Injuries that affect the jawbone, gumline tissue, and teeth can potentially cause tooth loss. If the injury is too severe and the results are long-lasting, it is categorized as a traumatic injury. Such injuries are usually caused due to sports or accidents. If there is tooth loss, the dentist will recommend teeth replacement options like dental implants.

When a dental implant is suggested in case of an injury, the dentist has to make sure that the mouth is in good condition or, at the least, the gumline is healthy and uninjured. In severe cases of injury, the jawbone and gumline are destroyed, and the patient has to undergo a procedure of bone grafting to ensure that the dental implant is placed in the gumline securely.

Defect in structure

Not everyone is born with the perfect facial structure. This can prove a major inconvenience in everyday life and while receiving dental treatments like implants. The cause for uneven facial structure could be genetic or it could be due to severe injuries. Many patients are born with naturally asymmetrical jawline structures and facial structures. If the jawline is too asymmetrical, the patient may not be eligible for dental implants and may have to look for alternative solutions. In case of severe injuries, the bone may take more time to heal from the bone grafting procedure than the usual span of a few days.

If dental implants are suggested because of tooth loss, the jawbone structure will need correction first as it will not be able to hold the implant if the structure is uneven. Also, if the dentist proceeds with the procedure of the dental implant without correction of the structure of the jawbone, improper placement of the implant is possible.

Empty space

When a dental implant is advised to a patient in case of tooth loss or any other dental condition, the dentist must ensure that there is a sufficient amount of jawbone available. The implant needs proper support from it for complete Osseo integration into the gum line as well as the jawbone.

When there is simply not enough jawbone present in the mouth to hold the dental implant, bone graft surgery is recommended. With the help of artificial material or bone from any other organ of the body. Bone material from another patient can also be used in cases of emergency.

Sensitive gums

Dental implants need strong supporting tissues around them for successfully holding artificial teeth in place. If the gumline tissue is constantly agitated and sensitive to touch they are not considered healthy and will not be able to hold the dental implant securely. In such cases, a bone graft procedure is recommended to replace the inflamed gums.

Conclusion

As you can see, bone grafting is not required for all cases of dental implantation. But under certain circumstances it may be required.

Your dentist will be able to make an assessment of whether you need bone grafting or not after a thorough assessment of your mouth.

Author

  • Dr Peter El Shoura

    Meet Dr Peter El Shoura, your local dentist and Owner of Kellyville Smiles. Known for his gentle approach, Dr Peter excels in easing patient anxieties, offering customised treatments that respect each individual's pace and preferences. Dr. Peter holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from The University of Melbourne, a Diploma in Clinical Orthodontics, a Fellowship in Implant Dentistry, as well as Mpharm(USyd) and Bmedsci(Usyd), highlighting his extensive expertise in dental health and advanced treatments.

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