How does bone grafting improve the success of dental implants? – 2022

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If your oral surgeon recommends bone grafting before placing dental implants, you may be wondering, “why is it necessary?” Bone grafting often accompanies dental implants to ensure your implants will create a strong bond with your jawbone and support the full force of your bite. Since dental implants replace the roots of missing teeth by fusing with the jawbone, bone grafting may be necessary to establish a sufficient foundation of support in your jaw where teeth are damaged or missing.

Learn everything you need to know about bone grafting for dental implants. Find out why patients require bone grafting to ensure their dental implant procedure is successful. And get an expert diagnosis on whether you need bone grafting before receiving dental implants.

What is bone grafting for dental implants?

Bone grafting for dental implants is a surgical procedure to increase the volume of bone tissue in your jaw at the implant locations. When you lose or severely damage a tooth, the roots begin to die, and your jawbone loses mass. In the first year of tooth loss, that spot in your jawbone loses 25% of its volume. Since dental implants often accompany tooth loss, it is common to see jawbone recession.

When patients hear “bone grafting,” they often cringe at the thought of what they assume to be a painful procedure. You might even echo the same misconceptions about modern bone grafting. In reality, advances in surgical technology and dental anesthesia have come a long way since those misconceptions originated. Today, jawbone grafting is a standard oral procedure and is not painful.

How does bone grafting improve the success rate of dental implants?

You might not know it, but your jawbone supports your entire facial structure. It is the linchpin that supports all the other bones in your face, including your teeth. When tooth loss occurs, the jawbone isn’t being stimulated and begins to recede. Bone grafting bolsters the bone mass by fusing new bone tissue into an affected area.

The new bone tissue comes either from your own body or an external source. Bone tissue that comes from your own body is called living bone. When living bone is used for grafting, it seamlessly integrates with the existing bone to replace the missing tissue. Non-living bone grafts act as a framework or scaffolding on which living bone will grow.

Natural Bone vs. Bone Grafts: Which is better for dental implants?

Dental implants are the modern standard amongst dentists and oral surgeons to replace missing teeth, in part due to the high success rate of dental implants. After ten years, dental implants have about a 97% success rate. And the success rate is the same whether the implants are placed in natural bone or bone grafts.

A 2016 study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) concluded no difference in the success rate for patients with dental implants placed in grafted versus non-grafted bone. The key to successful dental implants is when the jawbone fuses with the implant screw, creating a solid and permanent foundation for an artificial crown or dental prosthetic.   

Why is bone grafting necessary before dental implants?

As soon as you lose a tooth, the jawbone begins to lose mass and recede. But, tooth loss is not the only cause of jawbone recession, and you may require bone grafting for several reasons. Patients may lack sufficient jawbone mass to support an implant due to:

  • Gum disease or periodontitis
  • Facial trauma
  • Congenital defects
  • Jawbone cysts

The Sooner, the Better for Dental Implants

The sooner you seek dental attention following tooth loss, the more likely you won’t need bone grafting to replace it with a dental implant. Some patients can come in the same day they lose a tooth and still need bone grafts. Part of the variability is due to the different reasons why patients lose teeth in the first place.

If your tooth gets knocked out, you might not need bone grafts if you seek medical attention right away. On the other hand, if your tooth falls out because of underlying root damage or decay, your jawbone may not have enough mass to support dental implants without bone grafts. Call our office to schedule your consultation and see if bone grafting is necessary for your dental implant placement procedure.

Missing Teeth? Consider Dental Implants!

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