Dental implants replace missing teeth by fusing to the jawbone and supporting the porcelain crowns. But what if there isn’t sufficient bone mass to support a dental implant? This is the most frequently asked question by our patients who have had missing teeth for a while. Hence we encourage you to visit us at Alencar Family Dentistry for an examination and X-rays. Our findings will help us answer this question and help you decide what is best for you.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure done under local anesthesia to restore bone in areas where it has been lost. As soon as the tooth is extracted, the grafting material is placed into a tooth socket or in an area where a tooth has been missing for some time. The body will then grow new bone cells, replacing this graft material over the next several months.
Would I Require a Bone Graft to Get a Dental Implant?
Sometimes, the bone quality and quantity deteriorate when a tooth is lost, even before you realize it. When you decide on having an implant placed, there may not be adequate bone left for a successful implant. This is when bone grafting becomes necessary.
How Long Does the Bone Take to Heal Before I Can Get an Implant?
The bone graft needs a minimum of four months to heal and be strong enough to hold a dental implant. Next, we place the implant, consisting of a titanium screw, and allow it to fuse with the jawbone. This process takes another four months. Then, we uncover the implant and let it heal for another month. At the end of this process, the implant is covered with a tooth-like crown.
How Is Bone Grafting Done?
First, we will apply a local anesthetic to numb the surgical site. You also might need sedation if the tissue for the bone graft has to be taken from your own body or if you suffer from dental anxiety. Next, an incision will be cut in your gum tissue, and a flap created to expose your bone. By doing so, we can identify precisely how much bone needs to be placed there.
The grafting material will be attached to the exposed bone, and the area will be sutured. Next, the new bone will be secured to your jawbone by using a titanium screw.
In most cases, the procedure is done in one day and you can return home. You will require four to six months to heal and be prepared for your dental implant. We will provide instructions to care for the area, which you should follow to prevent failure or complications.
To schedule a dental examination or to learn more about a bone grafting procedure at Alencar Family Dentistry, call us at (757) 546-0301.