When a tooth is extracted, a bowl-shaped bony socket is left in the jaw. During the healing process, much of the bone around the socket can slowly dissolve away, or atrophy, because the tooth is no longer present. Bone loss will make it difficult for a patient to replace the missing tooth with a dental implant. One simple way to preserve bone in the jaw is to pack bone graft material into the extraction socket when the tooth is extracted. A membrane is then sutured over the graft to keep the graft in place. After 3 to 6 months of healing, solid bone forms that can support a dental implant.
There are several types of bone grafts. On the day of your appointment it will be determined which choice is optimal for your treatment plan.
Autogenous Bone Graft – Harvested from the patient’s own body (usually from the posterior part of the lower jaw or the chin). This method is usually preferred because it produces the most predictable results.
Allograft Bone Graft – Cadaver or synthetic bone is used in this type of graft.
Xenograft – Cow bone is used in this type of graft.
Alloplastic; This bone grafting material is man made. Synthetic materials, just like those used for joint replacements, are used to build up the patient’s jaw line in order to receive dental implants. This material is a basically a derivative of calcium phosphate. In some cases, the patient’s body is able to replace the alloplastic material with natural bone as with a xenograft. If the body is unable to replace the alloplastic material, it is still beneficial because it acts to provide a structure on which natural bone can develop.
A list of benefits associated with bone grafting/dental implants for dental restoration:
- Dental implants and bone grafting procedures provide the most natural solution for missing teeth;
- Bone grafting procedures and the placement of dental implants enjoy an impressive success rate of over 90%;
- Progressive loss of bone and jawbone shrinkage is eliminated because dental implants imitate the natural roots of the teeth and maintain jawbone structuring;
- No damages are caused to existing healthy teeth in order to utilize bone grafting and dental implant techniques;
- Speech quality is enhanced when compared to that of patients with dentures;
- Pain-ridden and irritated gums caused by dentures are no longer a concern;
- Patients never again need to use messy denture adhesives;
- The clasps used with partial dentures to hold them in place are eliminated. This reduces stress on the surrounding natural teeth;
- There are no limitations to the foods that can be eaten as with dentures;
- Dental implants do not move. They are permanently fixed in place unlike dentures