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Bone Grafting for Dental Implants: What You Should Know

TeamBone Grafting, Dental Implants

Are you in need of a bone graft procedure in preparation for a dental implant? This is common for many patients. A bone graft is an oral surgery procedure that is performed to strengthen and thicken the jaw bone so that it can support a dental implant. It increases the chances of a successful implant that will last longer. 

If you’re getting a bone graft, here’s what you need to know.

Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?

A bone graft is often necessary for the placement of a dental implant. To understand why, it is necessary to understand how an implant works. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed in the jaw bone with a crown attached to the top. The jaw bone must be thick enough to support the implant, but if it isn’t, a bone graft procedure can correct it. 

When a tooth is missing, the part of the jaw that used to hold it in place will start to weaken and eventually will become thinner. The longer a tooth has been missing, the greater the deterioration of the jaw bone and the more likely that a bone graft will be necessary. 

Severe gum disease can lead to the deterioration of the jaw bone and the need for a bone graft. Injury to the jaw bone or even a developmental disorder can cause the bone to be unfit to support a dental implant without the help of a bone graft.

What Does a Bone Graft Procedure Entail?

In a bone graft procedure, a bone fragment is surgically placed under the gums on top of the existing jaw bone. The bone fragment can be an artificial bone or a piece of bone taken from somewhere else on the patient’s body-usually from the lower jaw wisdom tooth area. Once the bone graft is placed it will bond with the existing bone to thicken it and encourage fusion of the grafted bone to the host bone.

What Are the Different Types of Bone Graft Procedures?

  • Socket Graft. A socket graft is the most common type of bone graft procedure, this type of graft prepares just one tooth socket to support an implant. 
  • Lateral Ridge Preservation. A lateral ridge preservation graft is used to widen the jaw bone laterally so that an implant can be placed. 
  • Block Bone Graft. When a large part of the jaw is weakened or dissolved, a bigger piece of bone can be used to fortify and thicken an entire section of the jaw bone. 
  • Sinus Lift. A sinus lift is a bone graft procedure that is performed on the upper jaw. When an implant is to be placed in the upper jaw there must be  enough height of bone to prevent the implant from protruding into the sinus cavity. If the bone needs to be increased in height, a sinus lift procedure can be done.

How Long will it Take to Be Ready for the Implant?

    A  few months will be needed for the bone graft to serve its intended purpose(3-4 months) and grow thick enough to support an implant. The age and health of the patient will also play a part in the healing time. Your dentist will take X-Rays of the bone to determine if the bone is ready for an implant.

    Will Insurance Cover a Bone Graft Procedure?

    It depends. Most dental insurance will cover a bone graft for a dental implant but it really depends on the specific dental benefits under the plan.

    Bone Grafting for Dental Implants at Total Dental Care

    If you’re interested in a dental implant, your dentist will need to check the density of your jaw bone first to determine whether or not it can support an implant. At Total Dental Care we perform a thorough examination of your jaw before considering a dental implant. We will most likely take a 3D scan that will allow complete visualization of the area that needs to be implanted. The 3D scan will also allow placement of the implant virtually prior to the real surgery. This will greatly help to minimize complications. If it is determined that you need a bone graft procedure, we will take care of this first to ensure a successful implant. When the proper steps are taken, a dental implant can last for the rest of your life. 

    Call 240-813-9111 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to providing you with excellent dental care for a lifetime.