If you have missing teeth, dental implants could be the solution that restores your smile, as well as your ability to chew food comfortably. While dental implants’ benefits are undeniable, some patients aren’t ready for the procedure right away.
In those cases, your dentist at Downtown Dental Studio, located in New York City’s financial district, first requires patients to undergo a bone graft. Here’s what you need to know about bone grafting for dental implants.
Regular dental implants vs. bone graft implants
Dental implants have three main parts: a metal rod placed into your tooth socket, where it eventually melds with your jawbone; an abutment that screws onto the rod; and a crown placed on top to mimic the appearance of a real tooth.
For people with strong and healthy jawbones, this standard procedure for dental implants works just fine. However, for others, dental implant surgery might fail if the jawbone is too thin or soft to keep the metal rod in place. If that’s the case for you, bone grafting is necessary.
Bone grafting involves taking a portion of your bone from another area (such as your hip) or a donor, or using synthetic materials, to strengthen a weak bone. In the case of dental implants, that would be your jawbone.
Dental implant surgery is already a lengthy process with waiting periods, but if you require a bone graft, the process takes a bit longer because you must wait for the bone graft to heal before the implant rod can be successfully placed.
So essentially, bone graft dental implants are the same as regular dental implants, but with a different procedure and waiting period before implant surgery.
How does bone grafting for dental implants work?
There are a few different types of bone grafts you should know about:
- Autograft: A bone graft from your bone, usually from your hip bone or the back of your jaw.
- Allograft: A bone graft using bone sourced from a human donor.
- Xenograft: A bone graft using bone sourced from an animal, usually a horse or cow.
- Alloplast: A bone graft from a human-made material that contains calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals.
Your dentist will use autograft or alloplastic materials for bone grafting. Bone grafting requires a local anesthetic at the bone harvest site.
Then, you’re sent home to recover while the new bone fuses to your existing jawbone. The healing phase usually lasts several months. Once your bone graft is healed, you will return for the actual dental implant surgery.
From there, the procedure works just like standard dental implant surgery: First, the titanium rods are implanted, and you’re sent home again to heal. Once healed, about two months later, your dentist places the abutment and artificial tooth in place.
To learn more about dental implants and bone grafting, book an appointment online or over the phone with Downtown Dental Studio.