The loss of one or more of your permanent teeth can affect your daily life and hurt your confidence. To remedy this situation, a dental professional may suggest considering a dental implant. Dental implants are incredible in that they look and function like a natural tooth. However, in some cases, before a successful implant can be administered, a bone graft may be needed. Los Angeles Dental Implants Specialist, Dr. Delaram Hanookai of Southland Dental Care wants you to be prepared regarding the aspects of this type of oral surgery. Being knowledgeable can help you make a more informed decision, as well as help, ease any anxiety you may feel about undergoing the procedure.
What Exactly is a Dental Implant?
Dental implant surgery uses a metal post with screw-like threading placed where your tooth root used to be. An artificial tooth is then secured over the post and when done properly, is indistinguishable from a real tooth. Implants are a terrific alternative to other types of remedies such as dentures and bridges that do not look natural and are ill-fitting.
The condition of the bones in your jaw and the recommended type of implant will help your dental professional determine how your surgery needs to be performed. Implant surgery may require several steps before it is completed. One of those steps is the possibility of a bone graft. Certain steps may even require ample healing time meaning it can take several months for the entire process to be completed. However, this healing time will allow your implants to be as secure as possible by giving the bones time to heal tightly around the posts.
Why Bone Grafts are done
When you need an implant done, it needs a solid foundation to fuse to. This makes them strong and sturdy so they do not move or slip. If your bone is compromised due to bone loss or it is generally weakened, it may not be able to support an implant. Thus, the implant may fail.
Many people have a misconception that bone is made up of hard inflexible material. In reality, your bones are always replacing bone cells and remodeling itself. This is useful for straightening teeth but not necessarily helpful when you lose teeth as an adult since it typically results in bone loss. When tooth loss or gum disease occurs, the surrounding bone shrinks back.
Substantial bone and tooth loss can actually make you appear older. This is because your facial features lose support and will begin to sag without it. A bone graft can strengthen jaw areas that have experienced some bone loss so that implants can be placed to improve your appearance and health.
Bone grafts can help individuals who:
• Have a birth defect
• Experience issues related to trauma
• Bone loss from tumor removal
• Tooth extractions that did not include a graft for socket preservation
• Are looking for dental implants to replace missing teeth
• Want an alternative to a more secure and natural option to a bridge or dentures
• Is trying to strengthen loose teeth due to periodontal disease
Good Bone Graft Candidates
In general, you may be a good candidate for a bone graft if:
• You have one or more missing permanent teeth
• Your jawbone is fully grown
• Your jawbone needs added strength to support an implant
• You cannot, or do not want to wear dentures
• Are free of health issues that affect bone healing
• Can commit several months to complete the process
• Are a non-smoker or can commit to quitting for a period of time