Bone Grafting and Dental Implants
When a patient loses a tooth, dental implants are often used to help restore structure and appearance. Tooth loss can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth extraction
In some cases, a patient may need bone grafting before the dental implant can be placed. Although this is a common procedure, many patients are alarmed by the term “bone graft dental implant.” However, there is no reason to be nervous. The procedures for both dental bone grafts and dental implants are routine and painless dental procedures with proven results.
What is a Dental Bone Graft?
A dental bone graft is a surgical procedure that helps repair and rebuild bones that are no longer present due to dental bone loss by transplanting bone particles. When transplanting healthy bone particles, Dr. Phillipe and Dr. Hauser will create a solid, healthy base for the dental implant. This process takes place prior to the CEREC crowns, also known as porcelain crowns, being placed.
The dental bone graft prevents the bone from collapsing and healing with a defect. It might be helpful to think of a dental bone graft as a “scaffold” on which a patient’s own bone cells and tissue can grow.
The bone grafting used at Lakefront Family Dentistry is obtained from an FDA registered Bone Bank.
The timeframe from tooth extraction to finished implant (including the dental bone graft healing stages) usually takes about 6 to 8 months, as described below.
- Tooth extraction and bone graft are performed in the same visit, with the dentist performing the bone graft after tooth extraction.
- The grafting material acts as a scaffold for new bone cells to form and grow—a process that can take up to 3 to 4 months.
- Approximately 3 to 4 months after the grafting, the implant is placed.
- After another 3 to 4 months, a tooth can be made to fit on top of the implant—thereby completing the process.
In most cases, a patient will go from tooth extraction to finished implant within 6 to 8 months. However, the exact timeframe will depend on each patient’s unique situation and progress with healing.
Are There Different Types of Dental Bone Grafts?
Yes. The four primary types of grafts are briefly described below. Our highly experienced dentists, Dr. Phillipe, DDS, and Dr. Hauser, DDS, will fully explain the type of graft needed for each patient.
- Socket/Ridge Preservation is a graft placed in an empty socket upon completion of a tooth extraction. This is the type of bone grating performed frequently in our office.
- Ridge Augmentation. The jawbone may thin out if teeth are absent for a time. This type of graft is used to improve the size of the jawbone.
- Sinus Lift. When upper teeth in the back are lost or removed, the sinuses may drop into the space where the tooth roots once were located. To avoid penetration of the sinuses, the sinuses are lifted back into their proper position and the graft is placed underneath.
- Periodontal Bone Graft. If gum disease erodes the bone supporting the teeth, bone grafting can provide added support.
How are Tooth Loss and Bone Loss Related?
Alveolar bones are the bones affected by tooth loss. The alveolar bone holds the roots of the teeth in place. This thick bone’s purpose is to support and hold teeth. If a tooth is removed, the alveolar bone can begin to atrophy—leading to bone loss. Over time, loss of alveolar bone can also lead to jawbone loss.
Bone grafting is usually needed when a patient does not have enough healthy natural bone to support a dental implant. This bone loss may be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Developmental defects
- Gum disease
- Facial injuries or trauma
- Empty space after teeth have been removed
Are Dental Bone Grafts Painful?
No. A dental bone graft is a simple surgical procedure that is typically performed under sedation or with local anesthesia. At Lakefront Family Dentistry, we offer the option of conscious oral sedation, which is ideal for patients with dental anxiety.
Most patients report little or no pain. However, there may be minor swelling, bruising, or pain for several days after the procedure, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to prevent infection. However, a teeth bone graft is extremely safe and has few risks.
What Happens After a Tooth Bone Graft?
Once the dental bone grafting procedure is completed, patients will take antibiotics to prevent infection. Some patients may need pain medication for a few days as well. However, most dental bone graft patients are pain free after the procedure.
As mentioned above, it can take 3 to 4 months for the bone graft to fuse with the bones in the mouth and become stable enough for a dental implant. Because each patient’s mouth is different, this process may take a little longer in some cases. Our dentists will monitor the process and determine when a patient is ready for an implant.
In rare cases, a dental bone graft may fail. However, this is quite uncommon and usually occurs among smokers or patients with certain medical conditions. Common indicators that a dental bone graft has failed include:
- Pain or swelling that increases after the procedure
- Pus or drainage from the grafting site
- Gums begin pulling away from teeth
- The volume of the jawbone does not increase
If a patient is experiencing any of these signs after a bone graft procedure, they should call our office at once. During follow-up visits, our dentists will be able to assess the success of the graft.
What Type of Implants Will Be Used with A Dental Bone Graft?
At Lakefront Family Dentistry, we use Nobel implants, which have the longest track record of any dental implant in the industry. Manufactured by Nobel Biocare, these implants are considered the “gold standard” of dental implants.
The company is built on more than 50 years of research and innovation that began with Per-Ingvar Brånemark’s work with osseointegration in the 1950s. All the implants are made with Grade 4 titanium and a TiUnite surface treatment. Nobel implants are considered the best in the world and have years of clinical studies showing their efficiency and success.
Contact Lakefront Family Dentistry at (951) 244-9495 to schedule a consultation (or make an appointment online) to discuss dental bone grafting and dental implants.