Bone Grafts for Dental Implants
Prior to receiving dental implants, patients undergo extensive evaluation to determine whether they are healthy enough to be a successful recipient of implant supported tooth replacement. For many years, lack of jawbone was one of the main reasons patients were considered less successful candidates, but with the help of trained periodontists bone grafts have become a viable option for patients who are unable to replace missing teeth with dental implants due to diminished bone volume.
The Dental Implant Process
Dental implants are the most versatile tooth replacement option available. Because they replace the entire tooth from the roots up, implants can be used to restore any number of teeth. The process has two phases: implantation and restoration. The periodontist makes a small incision in the gum line, inserts an implant post, and waits for a process called “osseointegration” to occur before the prosthodontist or general dentist places a dental restoration.
How Bone Grafts Assist in the Implant Process
Osseointegration is what makes dental implants so successful. The implants are made of biocompatible materials that fuse to the jaw bone creating a support structure for dental restorations that mimic natural root structure. In order for this process to be successful, patients need adequate existing jawbone volume to support the implant. For patients who have diminished bone volume following tooth loss or mechanical trauma, a bone graft offers the opportunity to create the bone structure they lack to support dental implants.
Types of Bone Grafts
A bone graft is a surgical procedure during which a periodontist either relocates existing bone tissue from another part of the jaw or utilizes bone tissue from a tissue bank or synthetic bone to build up the jaw to adequate strength to support one or more dental implants depending on patients’ needs. There are many different types of bone grafts, but the three most common types relating to dental implants are:
- Ridge Augmentation - following tooth loss, trauma, severe gum disease, or other oral health issues, the jawbone breaks down and may not allow for the placement of a dental implant. Ridge augmentation is the process of restoring or replacing this lost supportive bone so dental implants can be placed at a later time.
- Sinus Lift – dental implants replacing teeth in the upper jaw sometimes cannot be placed due to an overly large maxillary sinus cavity. In these cases, a sinus lift procedure builds up the bone underneath the sinus in order to support an implant.
- Tooth Extraction & Ridge Preservation – the roots of teeth stimulate the jawbone preserving natural bone, but as soon as a tooth is lost, bone volume begins to diminish. Ridge preservation is a minimally invasive procedure whereby the periodontist applies a protective membrane and bone grafting materials to the empty socket following tooth extraction ensuring the preservation of jawbone.
Find out More from Your Boston Periodontist
At Kraft, Schrott & Associates, our experienced periodontist Dr. Alexander Schrott offers patients superior treatment options for periodontal disease, dental implant tooth replacement, bone and gum tissue grafts and more. If you’re interested in dental implants, but have been unable to receive this treatment in the past due to insufficient jawbone, contact Kraft, Schrott & Associates today. We’re happy to schedule a dental implant consultation, discuss bone grafting options with you, and offer treatment recommendations that meet your unique needs.