Dental implants are the preferred solution for replacing missing teeth. Unfortunately, people who have suffered from extensive tooth loss may not have adequate bone to support dental implants. As bone naturally resorbs (shrinks) in those areas, it lessens the potential and success rates of dental implant therapy. Thankfully, bone grafting (augmentation) for dental implants can expand treatment opportunities and long-term results.
As an experienced dental implant provider, Dr. McOmie frequently incorporates bone grafts into certain Chattanooga implant cases. Understanding what bone augmentation is and how grafting can help simplify your dental implant process if you’re searching for the best way to replace missing teeth.
What Is Bone Grafting (Augmentation)?
Bone grafting aids in strengthening weak areas of bone loss by placing donor bone into that space. Like grafting fruit trees in an orchard, a separate structure is attached onto the original one and then allowed to fuse, grow, and flourish in that area. The two entities essentially become one healthy structure, allowing for a denser bone that is capable of supporting dental implants.
Why You May Need Bone Grafting
Jaw bone naturally resorbs once a tooth is removed or as a result of past periodontal disease. Placing a graft into that location helps promote a firm, stable foundation for implant installation as well as stabilization of the adjacent tooth roots.
Investing in a bone graft helps ensure the success of future implants and delays the loss of additional teeth. But it also prohibits the onset of premature aging due to sunken-in facial features where the jaw is beginning to resorb.
Illustration of bone loss due to missing teeth and bone resorption
Ways We Restore Bone Loss with Grafting
Each tooth is set into a “socket” in the bone. When a tooth is extracted, the socket loses its borders and begins to expand into a wider area of the jaw. Bone grafting helps preserve the shape of the socket to ensure adequate implant support. However, the process can vary depending on how long you’ve had missing teeth and where the socket is located.
Socket Preservation after Tooth Extraction
For a planned dental extraction, Dr. McOmie may recommend an immediate bone graft at the time a tooth is removed.
Bony Ridge Modification
Larger areas of bone loss can lower the height of bone across the jawline. Comprehensive augmentation may involve reshaping the bone as well as incorporating grafts.
The upper tooth roots set directly alongside your nasal sinuses. If a molar or premolar is removed, the sinus lining may “drop” in that location. By raising the floor of the sinus cavity and placing a bone graft underneath, Dr. McOmie can recreate a safe installation site for your future dental implants.
Occasionally it’s necessary to recontour and reduce bone height in some areas, especially if you’re being fitted with a denture or implant-supported overdentures.
Types of Dental Bone Grafts
Not all dental bone grafts are the same. Depending on your oral anatomy, health history, and the extent of bone loss that’s present, Dr. McOmie may recommend one of the following:
Autogenous Bone Graft
This traditional type of bone graft is when your own bone is moved to a separate location, usually at the time of your tooth extraction. Autogenous grafting minimizes the total number of procedures needed.
Sterilized, FDA-approved donor bone is placed in small amounts onto your existing bone, allowing for fusion and reinforcement of osseous tissues.
Also sterilized and FDA-approved, this type of bone graft typically comes from bovine sources and is safe for dental implant patients.
Alloplastic grafts are non-biological bone that is made from a synthetic material or a combination of minerals. It is one of the most common types of grafting materials used in dental surgery and implant placement.
Is Getting a Bone Graft Painful?
Bone integration is natural and, depending on the type of graft you get, typically a pain-free process. Since bone structure lacks the same type of nerve endings as your teeth and gums, you can expect a fairly comfortable procedure and recovery. However, autogenous bone grafting where your own bone is used may involve a bit more invasive surgery to perform and thereby require a longer healing period.
A bit of local anesthetic will be used to numb the gum tissues, as opening that area will be required to place the bone graft. Minor irritation is normal as the gums heal, so we recommend taking an over-the-counter medication like Advil (ibuprofen) for the first couple of days.
After the Bone Grafting Procedure and Healing Time
A bone augmentation procedure can be performed on its own, as part of a dental extraction, or even during the time that the dental implant is installed. Depending on the need for a graft and the type of graft you receive, the type of appointment can vary. Dr. McOmie will discuss his recommendations with you so that you know exactly what to expect.
Bone integration doesn’t occur overnight. All new bone grafts require at least a few months to fully integrate with the surrounding bone tissues before they are structurally sound enough to support a dental implant. Dr. McOmie will evaluate your graft site at specific intervals to monitor how soon implants can be placed afterward. This process may require anywhere from 3-6 months.
Are Bone Grafts Necessary To Get Dental Implants?
Only in specific situations. Dr. McOmie will need to evaluate your individual bone anatomy to determine if it’s structurally sound for implant placement. If there is inadequate bone density, he will recommend placing a bone graft to prepare your mouth for implant installation.
Not every dental implant client requires a bone graft. But for those who do, Dr. McOmie can make the treatment experience more predictable.
Reserve a Bone Grafting Consultation
Contact us so we can help you decide if a bone graft is necessary for you to get dental implants. Schedule your appointment today with Dr. McOmie by calling (423) 899-1112
Our Promise To You
Why Choose McOmie Family Dentistry for Your Bone Grafting for Dental Implant Needs
We know our patients have many options for restorative dental care in the Chattanooga, TN area. Our experienced award-winning team is here to help you achieve your dental goals with our comprehensive approach and personalized treatment plans. We are dedicated to providing exceptional care in a comfortable environment where we treat every patient like family. You won’t find another dentist like us anywhere else in town! With so many options available, it can be difficult knowing which procedure will work best for you but don’t worry – we have years of experience helping patients just like yourself get their perfect smile back again!
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