Getting a dental implant is an involved process that can sometimes be complicated by needing a bone-graft. That said, it’s worth noting that dental implants have a long-term success rate of over 98% with patients. They last longer and have fewer complications. Perdido Bay Dental is one of the top dental implant offices in the Gulf Coast.
Are Bone-Grafts Necessary for Dental Implants?
Short answer: it depends. A bone-graft is necessary when your jawbone isn’t thick enough to hold a dental implant, or if your jawbone is too soft. Without adequate support for the implant, the surgery would likely not be successful in the longterm. As we get older, our bones get softer and it is natural for that to happen to the jawbone as well. If you are already missing teeth, that part of the jaw can also become soft do to lack of use. A bone-graft may also be needed in an area where a permanent tooth never grew, or an area where there was other mouth disease, such as a cyst, tumor, or infection. If you try and place an implant in a soft or eroded area of jawbone, not only will it not be able to support the implant, but it will look unnatural. The longer you go without a tooth in place, the more the bone will erode and necessitate a larger bone graft.
Traditionally, a bone-graft involves taking a piece of bone from another part of your body and transplanting it to the jaw area. Usually, an oral surgeon can also use artificial bone to place in the jawbone area. Depending on the condition of your jawbone, it could take a few weeks or months for the bone-graft to take hold before you get the dental implant, or it could be performed at the same time as the implant procedure.
Getting a Dental Implant
For the actual dental implant, the surgeon will drill holes into your jawbone and implant a metal post deep into the bone. It sounds worse than it actually is. Most of our dental implant patients can attest to this. This post will act as the new tooth’s new artificial root. Then a piece called an abutment, which screws into the post, is placed. Still, the actual tooth implant cannot yet be placed. This is because a process called osseo-integration needs to happen. The jawbone where the metal post and abutment are placed will grow around the post and solidify it into place. This ensures that the actual implant will have a solid base and not be easily jarred out of place. The implant tooth is eventually placed when the jawbone and new root is strong enough to support the implant and use of it— chewing, grinding and more.
If you would like to know more about our bone-grafting and/or dental implant process and experience, please give us a call today at (850) 542-4428. We’d love to talk with you and discuss you specific dental needs.