Dental implants are one of the most common ways to replace missing teeth. It can provide patients with a way to fully restore their smile, both in terms of how it looks, and how it functions.
But if you’ve been dealing with missing teeth for a long time, you may not be able to get dental implants right away. Your dentist may even tell you you require a bone graft before you’re cleared for implant surgery.
But why is a bone graft necessary?
Your teeth do a lot more than help you chew your food. Missing teeth can also lead to bone loss because the jaw bone is not properly stimulated.
Essentially, every single time you chew your food, the jaw bone is receiving essential nutrients because of the stimulation. When you experience tooth loss, that particular area will become depleted of these nutrients, and over time it can shrink in size.
This is why many people will require a bone grafting procedure before getting a dental implant. The metal screw, which gets inserted into the jaw, needs enough bone mass around it in order to provide a stable foundation for the abutment and the dental crown.
Without enough bone mass, the dental implants would essentially not be able to stay fixated.
Bone grafting surgery involves taking a piece of bone and attaching it to the place where your jaw has lost some of its mass. The bone itself may be taken from somewhere else in your jaw, but it can also come from a donor or even be artificial.
Once it’s placed, the cells from the new bone will attach themselves to the old one, effectively restoring the mass of the impacted area. The process itself basically helps your body regenerate in a way that it couldn’t have on its own.
It can take anywhere from 3 to 9 months to fully heal from a bone grafting surgery. The jaw bone needs enough time to properly bond with the new piece of bone.
This means that your dental implant surgery will also be delayed. If you do need a graft, the oral surgeon will only insert the metal implant once the jaw is fully healed, meaning it can withstand the procedure.
If you’re dealing with missing teeth and are wondering whether implants are right for you, Dr. John Shook can help you find out.
Our practice offers compassionate and reliable dental health services that can help you have the smile you’ve always wanted.
To get started, book a consultation at Shook Family Dental today.
If you have more questions about our services or implants, don’t hesitate to contact our Eau Claire dentist!