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When Is Bone Grafting Necessary?

Posted by Lone Star Dental Care Sep 06, 2022

Dental implants are a popular restoration choice for people who are missing one tooth 一 or many teeth. Because dental implants are surgically implanted into your jawbone, you must have enough healthy jawbone to support them. 

If you don’t have adequate jawbone, it doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. You may, however, require bone grafting prior to your implant surgery. At Lone Star Dental Care in Frisco, Texas, implant specialists Dr. Afshin Vahadi and Dr. Vafa Mirshams know that a bone graft can make all the difference when it comes to a successful implant. 

But how do you know if you need a bone graft? That’s the question we answer below.

Understanding bone grafts

Bone grafting is a type of surgical procedure in which specific material is added to existing bone that is damaged or diseased to correct the problem. In the case of a dental bone graft, the bone graft material is added to existing jawbone to add volume and density to areas affected by jawbone loss. 

Bone graft material falls into any of four categories: 

Autogenous: material taken from your own body e.g., your hip bone

Allograft: donated material from a human tissue bank

Xenograft: bone material from an animal tissue bank

Alloplast: synthetic bone graft material

During a bone graft 一 regardless of which type of material is being used 一 Dr. Vihadi or Dr. Mirshams inserts the bone graft material where your future implant will be placed. The bone graft material then grafts (or fuses) to your existing bone.

When is bone grafting necessary?

Now that we’ve covered what a bone graft is and what types of bone graft material exist, let’s explore the situations in which a bone graft may be necessary. You might benefit from a bone graft if:

  • You have a missing tooth, and jawbone loss has occurred prior to receiving your implant
  • Gum disease has contributed to jaw one atrophy 
  • Your implant won’t have enough jawbone to sustain it without a graft 
  • You have reduced bone density in your jaw

Bone grafts are commonly performed with dental implant surgeries and sinus lifts. In fact, researchers found that about half (50.3%) of people who receive implants need a bone graft. Of those with bone grafts, 22% also received a sinus lift, a procedure in which your sinuses are lifted to make room for the bone graft.

How do you know if you need a bone graft?

You won’t be able to tell if you need a bone graft by looking at your mouth. Here at Lone Star Dental Care, we use highly detailed diagnostic imaging scans to review the bone density of your jaw. Determining if you need a bone graft is part of your treatment planning. 

If we determine that your implant has the best chance of a successful integration with a bone graft, we review all of your options. When possible, we recommend autogenous grafts, as these are your own tissues and so should be tolerated well.

Planning for your bone graft

Bone grafting procedures take place here at Lone Star Dental Care and normally last between 45 and 90 minutes. Anesthetics and sedation keep you comfortable throughout the procedure, and we provide all of the preparation and recovery steps you may need. We give you the specific guidelines based on your overall health and unique needs, but general tips include:

  • Follow all instructions for changing the dressing
  • Use cold compresses to reduce pain and swelling
  • Eat a soft food diet for a few days
  • Sleep with your head elevated for a few days
  • Take pain medication as directed
  • Avoid contact sports until cleared to rejoin them

It can take several months for your bone to fully heal and fuse with the graft material. If you’ve wanted dental implants but didn’t think you had adequate jawbone density, a bone graft can help you reach your goals. 

To learn more about bone grafts at Lone Star Dental Care, office, call or use our online scheduling tool to book your consultation.

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