Dental Implants and Bone Grafts: What You Need To Know

Oct 10, 2021
Dental Implants and Bone Grafts: What You Need To Know
What is a dental bone graft, and why might you need one before having a dental implant? Bone grafts are required if your jawbone is too weak to receive an implant.

What is a dental bone graft, and why might you need one before having a dental implant? Bone grafts are required if your jawbone is too weak to receive an implant. That´s because dental implants are different from all other types of tooth restoration products because they replicate the entire tooth structure, including the root, which is embedded in the jaw. 

Scenarios such as missing teeth, osteoporosis and untreated periodontal disease can lead to significant bone loss. Without a dense, strong jawbone, there is no way to support an upcoming dental implant restoration.

What is bone grafting?

 A dental bone graft replaces the missing bone in your jaw to encourage osseointegration. This is where the bone becomes so fused with the implant that it cannot be separated unless they fracture. It provides a secure and stable foundation for your restoration so that implants can function exactly like natural teeth allowing you to chew and bite with the same force. 

Several types of bone grafting material are available. These include:

  • Autografts: Bone from the patient’s own body, typically from the chin, hips or shins.
  • Allografts: Bone from a human donor, usually a cadaver. The tissue is treated so that the recipient’s body will not reject it.
  • Alloplastic: Grafts are created from hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral in bone.
  • Xenografts: Using inorganic portions from animal bones. Cows are the most common source.
  • Ceramic-based grafts: These are made from a combination of ceramics and other materials.

The extent of your bone loss will help determine which type of grafting material is most suitable.

How Is The Dental Bone Grafting Procedure Performed?

Bone grafting is a multi-stage procedure that may vary a little from one person to another. The steps outlined below will give you an idea of what to expect. 

1) The dental surgeon will give you an anesthetic to numb the surgical site. If you experience anxiety, they may also give you a sedative.

2) If the graft is coming from your own body, the surgeon will source the bone from its location.

3) The area that is to receive the bone graft is cleaned.

4) The surgeon will make an incision in the gum to expose the bone and then insert the graft.

5) The surgeon will then secure the graft and stitch the wound.

The length of the bone grafting surgery will depend in part on the severity of bone loss, but typically it will last for an hour.

Possible Dental Bone Graft Complications

Before your bone grafting procedure, your dentist or dental surgeon will discuss possible complications. Although they’re rare, they do happen, and it’s good to be informed. 

  • Rejection: The body may have an immune reaction that rejects foreign donor material.
  • Infection: This is a risk if the procedure was performed in a contaminated environment and there isn’t proper after-care during recovery.

Dental Bone Graft Recovery Process

In most cases, you will be able to return home on the same day of your dental bone grafting procedure. The initial healing period will be about two weeks, during which time you may experience:

  • Bleeding for up to 24 hours following surgery. Therefore, you will need to change bandages and dressings often.
  • Depending on the severity of the operation, you may experience swelling in the mouth, cheeks and around the eyes for several days. Use ice packs to bring down the puffiness and ease the discomfort you might be feeling.
  • Pain and discomfort are not unusual following any surgical procedure, and so you will probably be prescribed painkillers.

To aid the recovery process and prevent infection, you may have to take a course of antibiotics. It’s important you take them as directed and finish the dosage.

During these first few weeks after surgery, you should only eat soft foods and liquids so as not to aggravate the surgical site. Dairy products might be off the menu for a while as they contain live bacteria that could harm the new bone graft.

You will also need to take steps to ensure you keep your mouth clean. The surgeon will give you instructions which may include rinsing your mouth at least twice a day with a prescribed mouthwash. Keeping your mouth clean will significantly lower the risk of infection.

On average, it will take between four and six months before the area is fully healed. Then you will be ready to receive your implant.

Contact Chesterfield Dentistry

To ensure dental implants are right for you and to discover whether or not you will need a bone graft, get in touch with the trusted and skilled team at Chesterfield Dentistry. Simply call (314) 469 6420 or book online.