If you’re missing one tooth, several teeth or an entire arch, you’ve probably considered what your options were for replacing them at some point. While bridges and dentures work to replace the visible portions of teeth and offer some function, dental implants take tooth replacement to the next level. Instead of only replacing the crown, they work to replace the entire root, offering a larger range of functions for individuals.
However, sometimes there isn’t quite enough bone available for implants to be placed. Therefore a bone graft is needed.
How Do Implants Work?
When people hear the term “implants” they tend to think of the entire structure, including the restoration itself. However, in this context, we’re only referring to the titanium rod that’s placed directly into the jawbone. The way in which the implant is placed into the jaw is one of the most essential parts of dental implant placement and key to ensuring it lasts for many decades.
In short, implants are biocompatible, meaning they can integrate with organic structures like supportive bone and gum tissue without worry of rejection. The process of the implant adhering to the bone tissue is known as osseointegration, and it’s a key part of the entire process. Without proper integration, the implant is doomed to fail.
Because of this process, patients can expect:
- The most durable and long-lasting tooth replacement option in dentistry to date
- The most aesthetically pleasing solution to tooth loss
- Increased bone stimulation (leading to a stronger biting force)
- Increased blood flow to the cheeks and gums (which helps your face maintain its natural shape)
What is a Bone Graft?
Bone grafts are common procedures that are not exclusive to dentistry. However, in the case of dental implants, they can be quite common. The procedure allows patients to use donated bone, either from another area of their own body or from another source, and attach it to specific areas where it’s needed.
In some cases, patients may have good oral health and healthy gum tissue, but not enough bone volume for an implant to properly adhere to. This is particularly the case if the person has had missing teeth for a while, therefore resulting in extensive bone resorption.
Without enough bone, the implant is far more likely to fail, forcing you to start the entire implantation from scratch.
What is the Recovery Process Like?
Once bone is grafted onto the area in question, the dentist will allow it to heal and closely monitor it to ensure that it expands the jaw’s bone volume. If successful, the implant will have enough room to integrate and hold in place.
During this healing period, it’s crucial that you avoid tobacco products, maintain a strict oral care routine, follow a soft diet for the first week or so after surgery and listen to all the dentist’s aftercare instructions. Soon, you’ll have your implant placed and healing in no time!
Ready to rebuild your smile from the root to the crown? Schedule a consultation with a dentist today to learn more!
About the Author
Dr. Johnny Cheng is fully trained to place implants and provide restorations in his own office. That means you don’t need to visit another dentist or oral surgeon just to replace teeth. They’ll go over all your options and help you determine which is best for your unique case. To learn more about his practice, you can contact him through his website.