Bone grafting – also known as ridge and sinus augmentation – is a procedure used to build up the bone beneath the surface of the gums. The bones in the upper and lower arch of the mouth are responsible for supporting the teeth. When one or more teeth fall out, bone resorption occurs naturally. When patients decide to replace missing teeth with dental implants, insufficient bone mass can prevent them from qualifying for the procedure. Bone grafting addresses inadequate bone mass by filling in eroded areas with bone harvested from the patient’s own body, or that of a cadaver or animal. The new bone helps promote new bone growth that will eventually support a dental implant.
Did you know…
that the majority of American adults over age 35 are missing, at least, one natural tooth? What’s more is that 1 in 4 seniors age 74 and older are missing all of their permanent teeth. Although dentures and bridges are a prosthetic option, they do not provide the same benefits available with dental implants. Implant dentistry prevents others from recognizing teeth as ‘false,’ and it also prevents the jawbone from disintegrating and any remaining natural teeth from shifting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
You may be a candidate for dental implants if you are missing one or more teeth. You’ll need a complete surgical consultation with x-rays to determine whether you are in good health and have adequate bone structure to support dental implants. In some cases where the bone is not dense enough to support an implant, surgical bone grafting may make it possible to support one in the future. It is also important to ensure you do not have any existing health conditions, such as gum disease, that could cause complications with your implants.
What should I expect during a dental implant procedure?
If your oral surgeon determines that dental implants are right for you, expect the procedure to require multiple visits over the course of several months. The first treatment visit is the one when implants will be surgically placed within your jawbone. You’ll be sedated and under anesthesia during the process to ensure your comfort. Once the implants are in place, an impression will be taken and used to form crowns or dentures that will be secured to implant abutments above the gum line. The implants will need to heal for a period of 6 to 9 months before you can return to have your final crowns or dentures placed.
What should I expect during the recovery period?
Dental implant placement is a surgical procedure that requires a period of recovery. During this time, it is common to experience some swelling and soreness, as well as bleeding and minor bruising near the surgical site. Your oral surgeon will recommend eating only soft foods during the first several days following implant surgery. It is also important to follow all instructions for post-surgical care, including cleaning the surgical site and using any medications as prescribed. Be sure to contact your surgeon if you experience any fever or discomfort that worsens after a few days.
Will I need to follow any special instructions following a bone graft procedure?
Yes. Bone graft surgery will leave you with sore and swollen gums, so expect to eat only soft foods in the days following your procedure. You may be given pain medications or antibiotics to be taken according to your periodontist’s instructions. It may take up to nine months for your body to make new bone to fuse to your graft.