Dental implants make a great replacement for missing teeth, because they look, function and feel just like natural teeth do. However, they are also the most invasive option, and sometimes require supplementary procedures, such as bone grafts.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implants is a small titanium rod that is surgically implanted into your jawbone, to replace a missing tooth root. The artificial root is then capped with a dental crown to create a natural looking tooth that functions and feels just like a real tooth.
What is a bone graft?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure whereby bone material from one part of the body (or from an artificial source) is grafted onto the bone in another part of the body. This is typically done to fix bone that has been damaged by trauma, or to increase the volume of bone in a certain area.
Why might I need a bone graft for my dental implant?
A bone graft can be used to creates a solid foundation for a dental implant.
Sometimes, the patient's jaw bone is not thick enough, or too soft, to support a dental implant. This often happens when the patient has been missing teeth for a while, and the surrounding bone material has deteriorated somewhat as a result. Or, it could just be that the patient has a small jaw.
Depending on the condition of your jaw bone and the number of dental implants you need, you may need a substantial bone graft, which may take up to nine months to heal sufficiently for the implant to be placed. Or, you may only need a minor bone graft, which can actually be done in conjunction with the implant surgery.