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Bone Graft > Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

Missing teeth can make eating and speaking challenging and impact your confidence. If your smile is incomplete, dental implants offer a long-lasting solution. However, in order to qualify for treatment, you must have sufficient jawbone tissue to support implant posts. Unfortunately, bone recession is a common side effect of tooth loss. To supplement existing bone and encourage new growth, your doctor may recommend bone grafting for dental implants. A graft can restore candidacy for implant posts, and in turn, improve the health of your smile.

The Dental Implant Revolution

Previously, patients were limited to replacing missing teeth with a fixed bridge or removable denture. However, neither option is ideal. To place a bridge, the doctor needs to reshape adjacent healthy teeth, which can jeopardize their structural integrity. Removable dentures present different challenges. Partial restorations must be held in place by metal clasps, which are highly visible. Full removable dentures can cause embarrassment if they shift out of place when you eat or speak.

Dental implants are considered the gold standard for tooth replacement. These small titanium posts are embedded in the jaw and create a strong, sturdy foundation for dental crowns, bridges, and dentures. In addition to the aesthetic and functional benefits that come with replacing missing teeth, dental implants help to keep the jawbone strong and healthy. Though restorations will need to be replaced in the future, dental implants are designed to provide a lifetime of support.

When Is Bone Grafting Recommended?

Your dentist will most often recommend a bone graft after tooth loss. In a healthy smile, the dental roots stimulate the jawbone when you chew or bite down. Without this stimulus, the jaw can begin to shrink. Pronounced bone recession can result in more widespread tooth loss and changes to your face shape.

Thanks to bone grafting, most healthy patients will qualify for dental implants after treatment.

Bone grafting is most commonly performed in preparation for dental implant surgery. Like natural teeth, these posts rely on nearby bone tissue for support. If you have suffered bone loss, you face a high risk of implant failure. By building up the diminished areas of your jaw, your dentist can increase the likelihood of a successful treatment.

 
 
Bone grafting process
 
 

Types of Bone Grafts

A bone graft involves surgically implanting bone or bonelike material at the site of jawbone degeneration. There are several types of grafts that can be used during surgery, including:

  • Autograft: This graft is harvested from your own body. Bone is typically taken from the hard palate or chin. Though there is no risk of allergic reaction with an autograft, it does require two rounds of surgery.
  • Allograft: In some cases, an allograft, or donor tissue, provides the best solution. Many patients prefer this method, as it eliminates the need for a second surgery. However, there is a small chance that your body will reject the new material.
  • Xenograft: Less commonly, your doctor could use animal bone tissue. The most frequently used xenograft for dental implants is bovine (cow) bone. Unlike humane bone, which induces bone formation, bovine acts almost exclusively as a calcified placeholder. In time, newly generated bone will replace bovine tissue as it resorbs.
  • Alloplast: This graft consists of synthetic material. Alloplasts are typically made from hydroxyapatite, though they can also be composed of calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, and other polymers. Though this method is safe, it does pose a risk for both allergic reaction and rejection.

The best option for you will depend on your health, lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences.