Dental implants: When is a bone graft recommended?

For patients who are missing one or more natural teeth, dental implants are the solution that most closely resembles real teeth. In theory, the implant process is fairly simple: who wouldn’t want to place a great-looking replacement tooth into the spot where a natural tooth has been lost? The mechanics and science involved in making your tooth replacement a reality will need to be managed by an experienced oral surgeon.

The first step towards achieving success with dental implants begins with proper planning. The location for your new tooth must be healthy enough to support the titanium post. The bone in the area must be dense and abundant. If the quality or the quantity of the bone is determined to be less than ideal, a bone graft may be recommended.

For the best possible outcome, the implant post will need to be completely surrounded by the bone. During the healing process, the bone will grow together with the surface of the implant and form a permanent bond.

Where the bone has been determined to be inadequate, your oral surgeon can augment the area with additional bone (bone graft). With the addition of supplemental bone, the location becomes healthy enough to stabilize your implant.

A bone graft is not required for every implant procedure, but may be recommended in certain instances:

  • Replacing teeth near the sinus cavity. The bone adjacent to the sinus cavity is too thin to accommodate an implant post. To prevent the artificial tooth roots from extending into the sinus, a bone graft is necessary to create a healthy barrier between the teeth and the sinus.
  • Damaged or resorbed bone. When bone loss has occurred or when the bone has been damaged due to trauma, a hole or defect is likely to occur. A bone graft enables your oral surgeon to build up the height and thickness of the affected area.
  • Narrow jaw bone. According to your unique anatomy, the bony ridge of the lower jaw may be too narrow to accommodate the width of the implant. A bone graft or ridge augmentation is an effective way to improve the dimensions of the proposed implant site.

To find out if a bone graft can improve your chances for implant success in the DFW area, contact the office of Drs. Steven D. Sherry and John D. Wallace today.