Dental implants make a durable replacement for missing teeth that look, function and feel just like natural teeth. However, they are also the most invasive option, and sometimes require supplementary procedures, such as bone grafts.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implants is a tiny titanium rod that is surgically implanted into your jaw bone, to replace the root of a missing tooth. This artificial root is capped with a dental crown to act as the tooth. Together, the implant and cap function and feel just like a real tooth.
What is a bone graft?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure whereby bone material from one area of the body (or from an artificial source) is grafted onto existing bone that needs additional volume. Bone may need volume added that has been damaged by trauma, if the bone is too small to safely undergo a surgical procedure.
Why might I need a bone graft for my dental implant?
A bone graft can be used to creates a solid foundation for a dental implant.
In certain cases, the patient's jaw bone is not dense or hard enough to support a dental implant. When the patient has been missing teeth for a while, the surrounding bone material may deteriorate somewhat over time, and this may make a bone graft necessary before an implant procedure can be performed. Or, it could just be that the patient has a naturally small jaw bone.
Depending on the condition of the jaw bone and the number of dental implants the patient needs, they may need a substantial bone graft. This may take up to nine months to heal sufficiently for the implant to be placed. Or, the patient may only need a minor bone graft, which can actually be done in conjunction with the implant surgery.