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What Is Bone Grafting

When a tooth is lost, the jawbone in that area doesn’t get any “exercise” or stimulation, so it shrinks like a muscle. If the jaw shrinks too much, there won’t be enough bone to support the implant and keep it healthy.

Our philosophy to prevent bone shrinkage is to place a bone graft at the time of tooth extraction to preserve the jawbone as much as possible.

If the tooth has already been extracted and missing for a while, our periodontist will evaluate the remaining jawbone. And he/she will also assess if there’s enough bone present or if you’ll need a bone graft, and if you are a candidate.

Bone grafts can come from many sources. Do not worry, however! In our case for dental implants, bone grafts are no longer taken from the hip in invasive surgery. We are fortunate that modern medicine has provided us with very successful bone grafts that we get right from our shelf! This makes it very easy and comfortable for you.

We primarily use donor bone grafts, most commonly coming from human donor bone or bovine bone, where the bone graft is processed and sterilized to remove all living cells and make them extremely safe.

All that’s remaining are the structural mineral and protein components. Both of them serve as a supportive structure for your bone-building cells to come & turn the graft into your bone.

The bone graft particles look like beach sand – or corn grits, if you’re familiar with those. Those tiny granules are placed delicately by our specialists and secured in place with a dissolvable membrane (like a “tarp”) to help regrow and support areas of the jawbone for an implant.

bone grafting

3 Kinds Of Bone Grafts Commonly Done For Dental Implants are:

Once dental implants are the right option and enough bone is present, dental implant surgery can be completed.

This is a much simpler procedure on the patient’s end than everyone expects. Our patients always return pleasantly surprised at their follow-up visit, as there is usually only very minimal discomfort.

Once the patient is comfortable administering a local anesthetic (“Novocain”), and with a light anxiety-relief medication if the patient chooses — the implant procedure starts with creating a space for the dental implant within the bone.

A small pilot hole is drilled, and then a routine x-ray is taken to check the precise angle and position of the pilot hole. Do not worry – the patient does not feel this at all and is usually very relaxed. Our highest priority is that our patients are comfortable and completely numb, not to experience any pain during the procedure.

Once the preparation of the space is complete, a dental implant is then placed securely into the bone. This is usually covered with a temporary healing cap that covers & plugs the implant until it is ready for a crown. You cannot see the implant itself as it is in the jawbone; all you will be able to see is the top of the small healing cap at the level of the gum.

If a bone graft at the time of implant placement is needed, this will occur at this time. The gum is then secured around the implant.

Dental implants are a teamwork effort between our periodontist (a specialist in the surgical aspect of a dental implant like tooth removal, bone grafting, and placement of the implant itself) – and your general dentist (an expert in the fabrication of the crown/tooth aspect of your implant and ensuring balance of the bite).

After a period of healing (ranging from 2-6 months), we’ll place a post into the top of the implant by the patient’s dentist. The patient’s dentist then creates the final crown, bridge, or denture.

Ridge Augmentation (Bone Grafting)

This procedure is used when there is inadequate bone width present into which an affordable dental implant can be placed. With this procedure, bone graft material is added to that portion of the bone deficient. After a healing period, often six months, a dental implant(s) can then be placed.

Sinus Augmentation

Sinus Augmentation is often necessary when there is an inadequate bone height for a dental implant to replace an upper back tooth. In this area of the mouth, the sinuses tend to grow or droop with gravity, leaving an insufficient height of bone into which a dental implant can be placed.

With this procedure, bone graft material is placed into the sinus to help regrow the lost height of bone. After a healing period, generally 6-9 months, a dental implant(s) can then be placed.

In more mild cases where only a small sinus lift is needed, the dental implant can often be placed at the same time in the same procedure.

Ridge Preservation

This procedure is intended to prevent the loss of bone that often accompanies the removal of a tooth. By preventing this loss of bone, affordable dental implant treatment becomes more predictable and timely.

This procedure is completed at the same time the tooth is removed. The tooth is gently removed, preserving all the bone that is currently present. The bone graft material is then placed into the area previously occupied by the tooth. After a healing period, typically 4-6 months, a dental implant(s) can then be placed.

Expertise in Dental Implantology & Bone Grafts

At Periodontal Specialists, Dr. Johnson is our expert in performing dental implant procedures and has undergone several years of additional specialist training in dental implants, bone grafts, & sinus lifts.

If you are missing a tooth or teeth, feel free to call us for a consultation where she will help you to understand the procedures & determine if you are a good candidate while discussing your options with you.