General Information on Bone Grafts for Dental Implants

Bone grafts for dental implants are often necessary when a patient lacks healthy jawbone tissue. A smile is always in style, which is why it is important to take care of all your teeth. Unfortunately, due to circumstances such as accidents or poor oral health, a person may find themselves without one or more of their precious teeth. Missing teeth can have a negative impact on a person's health and self-esteem. Fortunately, you can get new pearly whites with the help of dental implants.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a post — often made from titanium — that is surgically inserted into a patient's jawbone beneath the gum line so the dentist can mount replacement teeth into the area. Dental implants are permanent solutions, and these devices do not come off for cleaning sessions like dentures.

What are bone grafts for dental implants?

A bone graft is a surgical procedure that involves adding a bone, or a bone-like material, to your jawbone in an effort to increase its volume and create a secure environment for dental implants. Typically, the bone graft is placed in the jawbone, and the dentist waits for it to heal before placing the implant. The healing period often varies depending on the type of bone used and the severity of the situation.

If the bone graft is minor, the patient may get implants at the same time as the bone graft surgery. However, if it is a major graft, they may have to wait several months for the graft to be strong enough to hold the implant securely in place. For example, if a patient lost their teeth recently or if a small fraction of the damaged tooth is still present, they may need a simple grafting procedure. If the patient lost their teeth years ago, significant bone loss may be present. Therefore, the patient may need a more intense bone graft for the dental implant procedure. A successful bone graft ensures that the jaw is strong enough to support a dental implant.

Types of bone grafts

The type of bone graft a patient gets depends on the particular situation and the amount of bone required. The following are the different types of bone grafts:

Autograft: This involves taking a bone from a different part of the patient’s body

Allograft: This procedure involves harvesting a bone from an organism that is genetically similar to humans

Xenograft: This is a procedure that involves harvesting a bone from an organism that is genetically different from humans

Synthetic graft: This involves using a synthetic biocompatible material to make a bone-like structure

Who needs bone grafts for dental implants?

For a dental implant to be strong and stable, it is important for the metal post to integrate with the bone around it so it can be strong enough to support the dental crown on top of it. As a general rule, a minimum of one millimeter of bone is required around the dental implant for optimal stability and support. Even more space is required if the dental implant is next to another implant or tooth. Furthermore, the dentist has to ensure that there is enough bone so the implant is completely submerged. However, the dental implant should not go so deep that it damages anatomic structures, such as nerves. If your jawbone is too thin or too soft, the dentist may recommend a bone graft.

Wrapping up

Bone grafts are complicated and must be performed by qualified professionals. However, bone grafts create a more welcoming environment for dental implants, ensuring stability, strength and longevity. If you have missing teeth and are thinking about getting a dental implant, talk to one of our qualified dentists to help you determine what is best for your situation.

The best part?

Request a dental appointment here: or call Smile by Design Dental Group at (949) 336-3404 for an appointment in our Irvine dental office.

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