One of the diagnostic tests carried out prior to dental implant surgery will be to determine if you have sufficient bone in your jaw. It can be a bit concerning to hear you have lost quite a lot of bone since your teeth were extracted. In fact this problem is surprisingly common, and many people will undergo an additional process called a dental bone graft prior to having dental implants. It might sound alarming, but a bone graft is a very straightforward process and can be used to build up the width or height of bone in certain areas of your jaw.
Replacing lost bone helps give your dental implant in Basingstoke the very best chances of success, and also ensures that the final restoration will look natural and aesthetically pleasing, but how can bone disappear in the first place?
Reasons for Requiring a Bone Graft
There are several reasons as to why bone may have disappeared. The most common is simply due to tooth loss that occurred quite some time ago. Additional reasons can include:
- Periodontal disease
- Untreated cavities and infection
- Trauma or injury to the jaw
- A developmental defect in the bone
Choosing Your Bone Graft
Bone can be replaced in several different ways; using your own bone that has been harvested from another site in your body, donor bone or some type of artificial bone substitute. Your Basingstoke dentist is likely to recommend using your own bone, even though this procedure may mean the bone has to be harvested in hospital. Using your own bone greatly increases the chances of success as it’s far less likely your body will reject the graft. Alternatively you can use donor bone that may be bovine or human, or your dentist in Basingstoke may choose to place artificial bone graft materials that help encourage the growth of your own bone cells. As your new bone cells gradually develop, the grafting material is absorbed into your body.
All these different methods have their advantages and disadvantages as even though the operation is perfectly routine some people do not want to have bone taken from another site in their body, usually the hip or chin. Human or animal bone has been rigorously tested and sterilised to ensure it’s completely safe for use, but some of the synthetic materials used today can be extremely good. Once you have made your choice, your dentist can insert the bone into your jaw, after which it will need to be left to heal for quite a few months. This is necessary for the bone can completely integrate with your natural bone, ensuring it will be strong enough to hold your dental implants.
This does extend the overall time of treatment, but you’ll find the end results will be well worth it. The success rate for bone grafts is extremely high, although anyone who smokes will be at higher risk of failure so it’s definitely best to quit beforehand.