What To Know About Dental Implants And Bone Grafts

Posted on: 23 March 2023

Dental implants are long-lasting because the post that supports the crown is surgically implanted into the patient's jawbone. If the jawbone is not strong enough, the dentist will suggest the patient have a bone grafting procedure performed. The strength of a jawbone is determined by X-rays and other diagnostic tests. 

What Is a Bone Graft?

The procedure is considered minor surgery and is performed on an outpatient basis. However, patients that require a bone graft must wait several months after the surgery before the implant can be placed. The bone grafting material needs time to become bonded with the natural bone in the jaw area. This procedure is very common and safe for most people with an extremely high success rate.

Bones can become weak over time simply due to aging. Medication, such as strong chemotherapy or other drugs, can weaken the bones of the jaw. Medical conditions and other personal behaviors can also wreak havoc with your jawbone's density.

A bone graft adds bone material to shore up the bone and make it strong enough to accept the post of the implant. The material itself can come from the patient through donor bone material or from other sources. Discuss this with the surgeon before the day of the surgery.

After the procedure, care must be used when eating. You may be advised not to put pressure on the area until it has time to heal.

How the Procedure Works

Here's what typically happens during a jawbone grafting procedure:

1. Evaluation

The first step is to evaluate the condition of the jawbone using X-rays or CT scans. This helps determine the extent of bone loss and the amount of bone grafting required.

2. Anesthesia

Local anesthesia or conscious sedation is administered to numb the area and make the patient comfortable during the procedure.

3. Incision

An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the jawbone.

4. Bone Grafting

The bone grafting material, which may be taken from the patient's own body or a donor, is placed in the area of the jawbone that needs to be strengthened or augmented. The graft may be held in place using screws or pins.

5. Closure

The incision is closed using sutures, and the patient is given instructions for aftercare, including pain management and follow-up appointments.

6. Healing

It can take several months for the bone graft to fuse with the existing jawbone and create a strong base for dental implants.

To find out more about grafting and dental implants, speak to your dentist.