When you lose a tooth, it’s not just the crown of a tooth that is gone, but the tooth roots as well. If this hole in the jawbone is not filled, the mouth will eventually collapse in that space and, at some point, may not have enough jawbone available to hold a dental implant in place. When this problem occurs, the only way you can get a dental implant is to undergo a bone grafting procedure first.
The Bone Grafting Procedure
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that transplants bone and supporting tissues and rebuilds and recreates the jawbone that is lost because of a missing tooth.
It doesn’t matter how you lose a tooth – whether to gum disease, a blow to the mouth in an accident or sporting match, or an extraction – the important thing is to make sure you fill in the space that’s left behind as soon as possible. Filling the hole with a dental implant begins with a bone graft. Here’s how it works:
- A piece of bone is removed from another part of your body and transplanted into the jawbone (though often cadaver or ceramic-based grafts are used).
- Healing will take place over several months so the natural bone can grow and absorb the graft material.
- The graft must be fully integrated into the jawbone so the dental implant will be thoroughly supported once put in place.
The longer you wait to have a bone graft done after tooth loss, the more intense this procedure will be. If you have the graft done quickly, it will improve your chances of receiving a successful dental implant in the future. If your dentist extracts your tooth, you can trust that a discussion about bone extraction will be part of the procedure.
Types of Bone Grafts
The type of bone graft your Fort Lauderdale dentist decides to use for your mouth will depend on several factors, including how much deterioration has occurred in your mouth, the location of the lost tooth, their preferences, and your budget or insurance allowances.
Options typically include:
- Sinus lift: If you are missing teeth in the back of the upper jaw, the sinuses can expand and then be positioned to closely to the area where a dental implant is to be placed. The sinus lift opens more vertical space so an implant can fit.
- Block bone graft: A small block of human bone is taken from your chin or lower jaw and reestablished in the missing tooth area.
- Socket graft: Conducted immediately after a tooth extraction – particularly in cases of severe infection or decay – a socket graft stops bone deterioration completely by filling the vacant socket right away.
Replace Your Missing Teeth
Bone grafting and dental implants are sensitive, multi-step procedures that require the practiced hands of a specialist. Between healing from an extraction or treatment of an infection, healing from the placement of a bone graft, and then healing from the actual placement of the implant, the procedure will take time to fully complete.
Get on the path to reconstructing your smile and fill in all the holes left behind by missing teeth. Contact Dr. Diane Alvarez, in-house periodontist at Premier Smile Center in Fort Lauderdale, to schedule a consultation and discuss these advanced procedures.