Why You Might Need Bone Grafts
Many people are surprised when they are told that they need a bone graft for dental implants, but this is relatively common. There are many reasons why people develop deficient bone at an implant site, including:
- Gum disease
- Developmental problems
- Lost teeth not replaced
- Teeth replaced with dentures or dental bridges
- Jawbone trauma
Bone grafts can restore bone lost in all these situations. There are several types of bone grafts that might be used to restore lost bone.
The most common and simple form of bone graft is a socket graft. In this procedure, we use a bone substitute to build up bone in the socket left by an extracted tooth. There are many potential materials that can be used for this, but we use Bio-Oss. This bone substitute material is made from the bones of healthy cows. All of the cow’s cells and other biological material are removed, leaving only the mineral part of the bone, which is completely sterile and highly compatible with your bone. Often, we can place a dental implant at the same time we add the bone substitute.
Sinus Graft or “Lift”
Sometimes when teeth are lost in the top of the back of the mouth, bone isn’t just lost from the part that supports the tooth. It can also be left from the other side of the bone, which borders the sinuses. As a result, the bone here is too thin to support dental implants. Grafts can be made in the sinus to build the bone up to its former height so it can support your dental implants.
In some cases, we may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for this type of graft.
Bone Graft Alternatives
There is usually more than one way to deal with a lack of bone at a dental implant site, and dental implant technology offers us several options to get around the lack of bone.
Dental bridges and dentures: We can often overcome the lack of bone in one site by using bone available at other sites. If you are getting multiple teeth removed, we can place dental implants where you have quality bone and secure them there, avoiding areas where you lack bone.
Angled and zygomatic implants: Often, finding adequate bone is just a matter of finding the right way to place a dental implant. There may not be enough bone to support an implant that rests vertically in your mouth, similar to your natural teeth, but positioning the implant in a different direction will give it enough bone support.
Mini dental implants: We can sometimes use smaller dental implants to utilize the bone that you have. These shorter implants cannot withstand as much force individually, but sometimes we can used them in greater numbers to achieve the same effect.
To learn what bone grafting or alternative procedure we might recommend in your case, please schedule an appointment at Rice Dentistry in Irvine today for an appointment with an Orange County implant dentist.