If you have been told that you need a bone graft before having dental implants placed, you may feel anxious and upset. After all, messing around with your bone sounds like a major, scary procedure. The truth is, though, that it is a very common and simple procedure. Here is what you should know.
What Is Dental Bone Grafting?
Resorption is the natural process of jawbone loss that occurs when teeth are removed. The process is very slow, but over time, it can lead to poorly fitted dentures and a hollow, sunken appearance.
Dental implants fuse with the jawbone to provide a secure foundation for high quality replacement teeth. If you do not have enough healthy jawbone, though, there is nothing with which the implants can fuse. Dental bone grafting builds up the jawbone so the implants, when placed, can integrate.
How Is Dental Bone Grafting Performed?
Bone grafting used to be a complicated procedure that required dentists to harvest the patient’s own bone. Today, the process is much simpler and powdered cow (bovine) bone or artificial bone is often used instead. Over time, your body will replace the grafted bone with your own new jawbone tissue.
After thoroughly numbing your mouth with a local anesthetic, we will gently open your gum tissue to expose the bone. We will place powdered bone in the hole that once held your tooth roots and secure it with a collagen plug. A “sinus lift” bone graft has the additional step of lifting the sinus membrane to allow for bone graft material, but it is still a routine office-based procedure with a very low risk of complications.
Can I Have Dental Implants Placed Immediately?
It depends. If you have enough healthy bone to stabilize an implant fixture, we can generally place your implants at the same time as your bone graft, allowing you to heal from both procedures at once. If you do not have enough healthy native bone, though, we cannot stabilize the dental implants until the bone graft heals, which typically takes 3-5 months.
Although it sounds intimidating, dental bone grafting is common and simple. Your oral surgeon will explain how much strong bone you have and exactly how your treatment will progress. The procedure is not terribly invasive or painful, and most patients find it well worthwhile.
Ready to Get Started?
Costello Oral Surgery Associates has been named a Top Dentist by New Jersey Monthly every year since 2011. If you are ready for personalized, cutting-edge, compassionate care, contact us today at 201-712-5556 (Maywood), 201-848-5015 (Franklin Lakes), or 973-513-8100 (Wayne) to schedule your first appointment.