Is a bone graft required for dental implants?

Dental implants offer the best tooth replacement technology available, outperforming their counterparts, like bridges and dentures, in terms of both form and function.

Implant dentistry is so effective because of dental implant mechanics. Implants are small screws that are made of titanium, which is compatible with the jaw bone. This design allows the implant to fuse with the jaw bone, essentially replacing the missing tooth’s root.

The tooth’s root plays a central part in stabilizing the jaw bone. When it is lost, the bone begins to wear away in a process called resorption. In certain areas of the jaw, particularly the rear sections of the upper jaw, the bone is thinner to begin with and resorption happens more quickly. Periodontal disease can also compromise the jaw bone.

Some Newmarket patients considering dental implants may first need to undergo a bone graft to ensure they have sufficient bone structure to support the implant. If the bone material in the vicinity of the implant is inadequate because it has worn away or due to its location in the mouth, the implant could ultimately fail. Bone grafts can provide supplemental bone to improve the implant’s chances for success.

In a bone graft, bone is taken from elsewhere in the mouth (usually the chin) or the body (often the hip or femur) and inserted into the jaw at the implant site. In some cases, the sinus floor is raised to make room for additional bone material in the jaw.

It’s important to note that bone grafts are not necessary in many implant cases. If a tooth is replaced relatively soon after it is lost, enough jaw bone may remain to support the implant. Implants on the lower jaw are less likely to require grafts, as the lower jaw bone is typically thick enough to incorporate the implant, even after some erosion.  Some surgical techniques also may take advantage of available bone rather than resort to a graft. For example, an implant dentist can place just four implants in the front of the jaw to support an entire arch of artificial teeth.

If you do require a bone graft, be prepared for a longer treatment timeline. The bone graft must heal fully before the implants can be placed, and that process can take anywhere from 4 to 12 months.

To learn more about this procedure and to schedule a consultation, please contact the office of Dr. K. Ford Moore at 905-853-3727 today.