If your dentist says you don’t have enough bone mass for a dental implant, you can ask for a bone graft.
Suppose you’re considering getting dental implants, but your dentist recommends you need a bone graft before placing the implant. Although it may sound like a complicated and rare procedure, a dental bone graft is often done before an implant procedure. A 2016 study reported that out of 1,512 implants, bone grafts were needed in 50.3 percent of the cases.
Some people lose bone mass because of age, gum disease, or injury. Because the implant attaches directly to the bone, you need enough bone mass to hold it. If your dentist says you need a bone graft before your dental implant can be completed, you likely have some bone loss. But don’t let that stop you from getting an implant! A bone graft can regenerate your bone tissue and allow you to get a dental implant to replace missing teeth. But it’s always good to first brush up on what to expect from the grafting procedure.
A step-by-step guide to a bone graft procedure
First, your dentist will decide what bone grafting material will be used. Typically, it’ll be an autograft that takes bone from your body, usually the chin, shin, or hip. The grafting material can also come from the inorganic parts of animal bones, such as a cow or a human donor, typically a cadaver. Dentists can also create bone material from hydroxyapatite, a mineral found in bones, or a mixture of ceramics and calcium or bioactive glass.
A bone graft procedure doesn’t usually take long. In fact, it typically can be completed in one office visit. Here’s what you can expect:
Before the procedure. Your dentist will numb the site with a local anesthetic. You may need stronger anesthesia, such as IV sedation, if you use an autograft. If you need a tooth removed, the extraction will be performed simultaneously with the graft.
During the procedure. After thoroughly cleaning the site, the dentist will make an incision into the gums to reach the bone. Then, the bone grafting material will be set on the bone. The grafting material acts as an accelerant to increase bone growth, making it stronger.
After the procedure. You’re free to go home after the procedure. But it’s advisable to have someone drive you home if you’ve had IV sedation. A gauze pack placed over the incision site must be changed after 24 hours. Your dentist will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.
Your mouth may feel sore for the next few days. Over-the-counter medications can relieve the pain, and you can manage any swelling with an ice pack applied to the face. Eat a soft diet for a few days, and avoid extremely hot liquids and hard, crunchy foods.
Within a few weeks, the pain should subside. However, the process of building up bone can take months. The dental implant will have to wait until your dentist decides you have enough bone for the implant to take hold.
You deserve a great smile!
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists are experienced in dental bone grafts and dental implants. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Pkwy.
La Mesa, CA 91942