Whenever there’s lost or damaged teeth, there’s a possibility of bone loss. At times, even when the tooth is still in place the bone can become soft or lose width and height. In these cases, it’s possible that when looking into dental implant surgery the recommendations will include a bone graft. In all situations involving a tooth implant it’s necessary to prepare the jawbone first. When the jaw lacks thickness or is too soft the need for grafting will be a part of this preparation.
Loss of bone is not unusual in the case of tooth loss. When a tooth becomes unstable or the tooth is lost, the bone is no longer stimulated through the act of chewing. The bone is usually still healthy, but it can lose enough mass that supporting a dental implant would be difficult. This is the reason a dentist will check the bone first during an examination to determine how the procedure can be done safely and effectively.
When the jaw is too soft or not thick enough to support an implant properly the dentist will propose doing a bone graft in order to prepare the area for the new tooth. This graft will then create a solid base for the implant. A piece of bone will be removed from another area of the jaw or another part of the body to support the implant. Some people will need only a small bone graft, and this can sometimes be accomplished at the same time as the implant surgery. The type of grafting that will be done is determined by the condition of the jaw, and the dentist performing the surgery can explain all the specific reasons a graft is needed in a certain area of the jaw.
When the surgery takes place the oral surgeon will make a cut to open the gum. This exposes the bone and holes are drilled in the areas where the dental implant will be placed. In order for the implant to remain stable for years, it must be deeply implanted into the bone. The graft of bone to stabilize this area will take place either some time before this surgery, or on the same time before this drilling takes place. The graft will strengthen this area to the degree necessary to keep the implant stable.
Bone growth will take place after the implant. This is a natural process. Osseointegration is the process in which the bone will grow around the implant uniting with it. The graft will also unite with the other bone and implant creating a stable area where the new dental implant will be placed. Healing in this area takes only a few days, but the entire process of the bone growth can take up to six months. This will create a solid base for the implant just as the natural root supports a tooth