Dental Implants and Bone Grafting
Dental implants are becoming the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. In this procedure, a titanium implant is placed as a substitution for the root of the tooth. Dental implants are not only used for individual tooth replacement, but can also be used when replacing multiple teeth. They can also be used to support and stabilize dentures.
Advantages of dental implants
- Implant supported crowns are natural looking
- Dental Implants are very stable and comfortable
- They are easy to keep clean, unlike bridges
- They are the closest thing to a natural tooth
- They preserve and maintain bone density and volume
Disadvantages of dental implants
- Implants have a higher cost than dentures and partials
- They need to heal in the bone prior to being restored, and this takes a few months
- There is a chance that the surgery may fail, although uncommon
When placing dental implants, or preparing a bridge in the esthetic zone, bone grafting may be a necessary procedure. For a dental implant to be successful, there must be a sufficient volume and density of bone available to hold the implant. When there is not enough bone, an implant may not be an option.
There are several factors that affect jaw bone volume and density:
- Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease can permanently damage the bone that supports the teeth. Affected areas worsen over time until the teeth become unstable.
- Tooth Extraction – As extraction sites heal, soft tissue competes with the bone during healing. Some areas, particularly with upper front teeth, heal with significant bone loss. Grafting at the time of extraction prevents this loss of bone volume.
- Injuries and Infections – Accidents and other physical injuries to the jaws can cause the bone to recede. Infections can also result in bone loss.
Reasons for bone grafts
Bone grafting at the time of tooth extraction is a highly successful and predictable procedure in most cases. Bone grafting can increase the height or width of the jawbone and fill in voids and defects in the bone. Bone grafting can also be done after bone healing, but tends to be more expensive and less predictable.
What Does Bone Grafting Involve?
There are several types of bone grafts. Your dentist will determine the best type for your particular condition. At our office, we utilize allografts, which are highly processed and inspected. We also have a synthetic option.
During the surgery, the dentist will numb the grafting and extraction sites using a local anesthetic. After tooth removal, the particulate graft will be mixed with sterile saline and placed into the socket. A collagen membrane is used to cover and protect the graft, while allowing the gums to heal over top. This membrane prevents soft tissue and bacterial invasions, and maintains the space for regenerative bone formation. The surgery is easy an is completed in a short amount of time. The dentist will prescribe an antibiotic, and an oral rinse to help prevent infection.
How do we place dental implants?
At our office, we plan dental implant cases utilizing 3-D x-rays, (cone beam CT scans). This allows us to virtually place the implant ahead of time on the computer, and then print a surgical guide to make reality out of the simulated case. This method allows a safer and easier procedure, with the implants in an ideal placement.