What Is A Bone Graft And Who Might Need One?

What Is A Bone Graft And Who Might Need One?

Why some of our Chelmsford patients may need this procecedure before dental implant placement.

While dentures are not a thing of the past just yet, there is little doubt that when it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants are rapidly becoming the first choice of many patients. This is perhaps not surprising as, once the procedure is completed and the implant well integrated with the bone, it provides a high degree of strength, stability and longevity; things that dentures, at best, only partially achieve.

The key factor behind this success is the ‘osseointegration’ phase, where the implant that has been placed into the jawbone, fuses with the bone to provide it with the security that it requires. This is a procedure with a very high success rate, but it does depend on a factor that may not apply to everyone.

Are you a suitable implant candidate?

If you have decided that you want to replace a missing tooth with an implant, you will need to attend an initial consultation at Blue Sky Dental where we will discuss the procedure in detail with you and also take x-rays and scans to determine whether there is sufficient bone into which the implant can be placed. While most people do have enough bone structure, this isn’t always the case. Where this issue is found, patients will then have the choice of having an alternative such as dentures or a bridge, or to undergo a prior procedure that will build up the bone in that area in order to allow the placement of a dental implant.

Who might be affected?

There are a wide range of people who could be affected by this issue although we won’t know for certain until x-rays have been taken. Those most at risk include:

Smokers – Smokers have a much higher risk of periodontal disease and this is likely to reduce and/or weaken the bone structure.

People with periodontitis – This latter stage of gum disease affects not only the gums but also the supporting bone. This may reduce the quantity of bone available for an implant.

Long term tooth loss – As soon as we lose a tooth, our body gradually reabsorbs the minerals in that area for use in other areas of the body. The longer a tooth has been missing, the more likely it is that a bone graft will be needed to support a dental implant.

This is not a complete list but these are some of the more likely scenarios.

What is a bone graft?

This is a technique used to attach additional bone to the current bone structure in the area where the implant is due to be placed.

Before the bone is added, the area will be fully numbed so that you suffer little or no discomfort. A small incision is then made into the gum and the additional bone attached to your jawbone, along with stimulants that will speed up the healing process. The incision will then be closed using stitches and then it is a matter of allowing the treatment to heal. The time this takes will vary from patient to patient but may only be a few weeks. It is important to allow it to fully heal before any implant placement is attempted.

Where does the bone come from?

This is a common question we get asked when patients are told that, in order to have dental implants, they will require prior bone graft treatment. The answer is that it can come from a variety of sources.

In some cases, we may decide that the best option is to remove a small piece of bone from elsewhere in your body. This can often be done at our Chelmsford dental practice, although in some cases, you may need to have this done under a general anaesthetic in hospital. Other possible sources include animal or synthetic sources or sometimes from another human. We will discuss this with you should you need this procedure and explain the various options available to you.

The healing process

Time is the major factor here but there are certain things that you can/must do in order for it to heal properly. For example, any dental appliances that affect that area should not be worn during the healing process. This might include dentures, orthodontics, night guards etc. We will give you full aftercare instructions along with suggesting any recommended oral health care aids that might help during this period.

The implant procedure

We have covered this in previous blogs and you can find more details on our website. For the purpose of this blog though, we would like to assure patients who have had a bone graft, that the procedure, once this has healed, is the same as for those with healthy bone.

Although needing a bone graft does mean a longer wait before you finally have a firm and functional dental implant that you can use to chew your food etc, we are sure that you will be pleased that you have had it done, rather than have the inconvenience that some denture wearers experience.

If you would like to be assessed to see if you have sufficient bone for a dental implant placement or would like to discuss these generally with us, you can arrange your free non clinical consultation with one of our implant dentists by calling Blue Sky Dental today on 01245 211070.

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