If you’re considering dental implants, you may have been told that you need bone grafting prior to implant placement. This may have come as a surprise to you, but rest assured, it’s very common for patients to need bone grafting for dental implants. When teeth are missing for some time, the bone that once supported them begins to break down because it is no longer needed. Once this occurs, there is insufficient bone to support implants and the restorations that attach to them. Bone grafting is a simple periodontal procedure that rebuilds the jawbone to create a stable base of support for dental implants.
What Happens During a Bone Grafting Procedure
Bone grafting may sound like a complicated surgical procedure, but grafting for the jaw can be completed right in our office using only local anesthetic. Your gum tissue is numbed before the doctor begins any work, then a small incision is made near the portion of the jawbone that needs to be restored. The grafting material is placed into the jaw through this incision and sutures are used to close the gum tissue.
Grafting material may be harvested from your own body—often the back of the jaw for this type of procedure—or it can be synthetic. Bone grafts can come in the form of gel, powder, putty, or granules, but it all performs the same job of stimulating your body’s natural ability to rebuild bone where it has been lost. Eventually, the bone graft and your own bone will fuse together, giving you the support needed for successful dental implant placement.
What to Expect After Bone Grafting
You won’t experience any pain during your bone grafting procedure, but as the anesthetic wears off in the hours afterwards, you will begin to notice tenderness and swelling. Inflammation and soreness at the site typically lasts for several days, but this discomfort is usually minor. Over-the-counter pain medication, cold compresses, and a diet of soft, easy-to-chew foods can help control any pain you experience.
Once your bone grafting procedure is complete, your body will continue the work of rebuilding the bone for the next several months. You may be anxious to get your dental implants, but it’s important to wait so we can ensure that you have the bone density needed for support. Implants that are placed without sufficient jawbone support are more prone to failure because when you bite and chew, your implants can become loose, shift in your mouth, or even fall out. Bone grafts lay the foundation for a successful dental implant procedure.
If you are missing a tooth that is visible when you smile, Dr. Todd can provide you with a temporary restoration while you wait for bone regeneration and your final implant-supported restoration.