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Increase Your Candidacy for Dental Implants with a Bone Graft

By summer on June 23, 2014


Birmingham Bone Grafts for Dental ImplantsDental implants are both an effective and versatile method of tooth replacement, able to restore one or multiple teeth through different types of restorations. Furthermore, implants form a natural bond with surrounding bone tissue, utilizing strength from the jaw as a regular tooth would. It’s easy to see why more dentists are recommending implants for lost teeth, especially as technology makes them an increasingly viable option.

Still, not everyone is an immediate candidate for dental implants. One of the most common limiting factors is a lack of jawbone tissue for support. Fortunately, a bone graft can provide patients with the ability to have implants installed. If you have been told that your jaw cannot support implants, see how bone graft surgery at our Birmingham cosmetic dentistry office can help you. 

Candidacy for Dental Implants

Before having dental implants installed, patients must meet with a qualified dentist to determine their candidacy for the procedure. Like any surgery, patients should be in good overall health, without any systemic diseases that may compromise their immune system. More specifically, patients must have healthy gum tissue that is free of gingivitis or periodontitis. If gum disease is present, periodontal treatment may be necessary to improve dental health and hygiene.

More importantly, however, is the structure of a patient’s jaw. Without adequate bone structure, dental implants cannot be safely installed. This is most often a problem with patients who have suffered from years of tooth loss, as missing teeth result in the gradual degradation of nearby bone tissue. Although a weakened jaw may limit candidacy at first, patients may eventually be able to have dental implants after existing tissue is bolstered through a bone graft.  

Acquisition of Tissue for a Bone Graft

Many bone grafts utilize tissue from another area of the patient’s body, such as the hip, leg, or from elsewhere on the jaw. This tends to have the most successful results, as one’s own tissue will not be contaminated, nor will it be rejected by the body. In other cases, tissue may be obtained from a donor, animal bone, or a synthetic source. Before undergoing a graft, speak with your dentist about the benefits and drawbacks of each option, as well as which tissue source is safest for you. 

What to Expect during a Bone Graft

If a bone graft is recommended, Dr. Gooch will take great care to make the procedure as comfortable as possible, while giving you the best chances of success for future implants.

  • First, local anesthesia is used to relieve any pain or discomfort. In some cases, conscious sedation may also be used to help patients relax.
  • For each area where implants are to be installed, an incision will be made in the gum line, providing access to the underlying bone.
  • The tissue graft will be inserted over the preexisting bone and held in place through screws or an artificial, dissolvable membrane.
  • Finally, each incision will be sutured closed over the bone.

Although the graft will technically be in place at this point, it must fuse with jaw naturally in order to serve as a strong source of support.   

When Can Implants Be Installed?

It takes months for a bone graft to fully heal through osseointegration with the jaw. Typically, patients can expect recovery to last between four and six months, although it’s possible for some patients to wait a year for the bone to fuse. The healing process is largely determined by a patient’s health and habits during recovery. Those who do not smoke, maintain good hygiene, and do not exert pressure near the graft will expedite their recovery timeline. Once the dentist has determined that the bone has healed and is able to support dental implants, the implant process may proceed.

Schedule a Consultation

An initial consultation is necessary to evaluate your candidacy for dental implants. Whether you require additional treatment beforehand or are ready to receive implants, we will help you obtain the necessary services. Contact our office to schedule your first appointment and be well on your way to a restored smile.

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