When you come in for an examination to determine if you are in fact a good candidate for dental implants, you may be surprised to discover that you require a bone graft first. While the term sounds scary, a bone graft is a very simple procedure that must be completed if you hope for your dental implant to remain in place. To alleviate your concerns and to make your appointment far more pleasant, here are some of the prime reasons why you may need a bone graft, as well as what you can expect during your upcoming procedure.
Why You May Require a Bone Graft?
When you lose a tooth, this sends a signal to the body that the section of jawbone that held the tooth in place is no longer necessary. That bone, then, will begin to recede during a process called resorption. If the bone is allowed to recede too much, it can affect the neighboring teeth and they, too, may fall out.
A bone graft repairs the bone in your jaw so that your neighboring teeth can remain right where they are. The process also allows your Implants Alaska doctor to place a dental implant properly. The dental implant procedure involves using an artificial tooth root – made of titanium or a ceramic composite - that will hold the artificial tooth in place. That tooth root – or post – will require a significant amount of jawbone to hold it in place; just as a real tooth root would require jawbone to remain in your mouth and be strong enough to eat with. For this purpose, your doctor will graft bone to the spot in your mouth that requires it, thus adequately preparing you for your upcoming dental implant appointment.
How the Bone Graft Works
Now you may be wondering where your doctor is going to get the bone to graft to your jaw. In the past, doctors would have to take the bone from your hip, requiring surgical procedures on two sites of your body. Obviously this was inefficient, as it increased the risk of error and infection.
Today, we have much simpler and more efficient ways to graft bone and they don’t involve your hip at all. While doctors may still harvest bone from the hip in extreme cases, your Implants Alaska doctor will graft a synthetic material to the area. This not only reinforces the dental implant, but it also stimulates the bone to attach to and grow around the implant naturally. The result is an implant that looks and feels just as strong as your natural teeth.
You will not feel a thing during the procedure, as the area will be numbed. Sedation dentistry may also be used in some cases, particularly if you tend to feel anxiety while sitting in the dentist’s chair. You will then be able to go home and rest while the bone heals naturally and completely. This could take three to six months. You may feel some swelling or discomfort after the procedure, but downtime should be minimal.
If you still have questions about bone grafting or if want to know if you are a good candidate for bone grafting or dental implants, contact us at Alaska Implants and we’ll take good care of you.