Dental implants are needed for a variety of reasons, often due to tooth decay or other medical reasons. Dental implants may be necessary due to missing teeth, diseased teeth, gaps in teeth, or supporting a new crown, bridge, or denture. Before dental implantation can take place, a bone graft may be needed in some cases where the jawbone isn’t a secure enough base.
What is a bone graft?
A bone graft is one of many surgical procedures completed by a trained dental professional where a piece of healthy bone is transferred to an area where the bone is either missing, damaged, or not strong enough.
The bone grafting procedure
1. The patient will be given an anesthetic to be put into a deep sleep. They will be monitored at all times. Sometimes the procedure can be completed with the patient under intravenous sedation.
2. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area where the incision is needed.
3. A cut is made into the chin, jaw, or another bone area to extract the part that is to be used in the dental implantation.
4. The dentist may cover the area with a thin tissue substance to keep gum tissue from filling the space as it heals.
5. The piece of bone is then transferred to the jawbone. This is often done with pins and stitches to keep a solid base for the new bone to grow. It can take months for the transplanted bone to become solid enough to support a dental implant.
After the jawbone has healed from the bone grafting, the dental implantation procedure can then take place.
1. The oral surgeon will place the patient under either local or general anesthetic.
2. A cut is made into the gum of the affected area to expose the bone.
3. Holes are drilled deep into the bone.
4. The dental implant metal posts are implanted into the holes created.
5. Once this is complete, osseointegration begins. This is where the jawbone grows into and merges with the surface of the dental implant. This can take several months.
6. Once osseointegration is complete, the surgeon will once more reopen the gum to expose the implant.
7. The new crown or tooth is then attached to the dental implant.
The entire procedure can take months to complete, and the patient may face some swelling and bleeding.