A bone graft is a surgical process to rebuild or repair bones through bone tissue transplant. By transplanting healthy bone tissue, surgeons can recreate supporting tissue and bone that’s missing.
Dental implants are surgically inserted and placed in the jawbone. However, for the procedure to be a success, you’ll need to have enough mass on your jawbone to support the implant. In that case, if you don’t have enough bone mass, you will need to have a bone graft surgery to provide for that. Usually, the surgeon will extract the bone from a section of your body’s bone or use a special bone grafting material and surgically place it on to your jawbone.
In this article, we will highlight what you need to know about bone graft for dental implant healing, to give insights into what to expect during and after the procedure.
Is bone grafting necessary?
If you don’t have enough amounts of healthy natural bones needed to support the implant, then yes, bone grafting will be very necessary. Natural bone deficiency is often a result of:
Face injury or trauma
Space after teeth extraction
Are you a candidate?
Anyone who has lost a tooth can be a good candidate for bone graft – and this applies to even when the tooth was lost the same day that the person wants a dental implant. Why? It’s possible that the lost tooth wasn’t the right size to support an immediate replacement, or that the socket is infected. However, most people don’t get implants on the same day, partly due to finances and sometimes, it’s logistical.
How does bone loss happen?
The alveolar bone supports and holds the teeth. But when there is no tooth to hold and support, then this bone begins to waste for lack of work. Besides, chewing helps strengthen and build up the jawbone. So when there is no tooth, jawbone loss can also occur.
Keep in mind that dental implant needs to fuse with a bone to form a strong foundation for the crown, but without a bone to bond with, then fitting an implant proves a challenge.
How do bone grafts work?
There are different kinds of bone graft for dental implant healing, and the type your dentist will use on you will depend on a range of factors, including the level of damage and location of the lost tooth. A socket graft is used to curb the wasting of the alveolar bone. Lateral ridge preservation graft help increase the width of the jawbone to house the implant. Block bone graft is used in cases where there are significant defects in the jawbone.
Is it painful?
Bone grafting is an outpatient procedure and isn’t painful as it appears. Patients are put under sedation through the whole process.
What to expect after the procedure
Once the process is over, the dentist will administer some antibiotics to prevent infection. They also may issue some pain medications. Often, patients who get bone grafts are completely pain-free and only require antibiotics. The dentist will then need to wait for the graft to fuse with the natural bones in your mouth. This may take anywhere from three months to a year depending on the patient.