Bone Grafts: The Foundation of a New Smile

What is a dental bone graft and why would anyone need one? Bones in our jaws are essential to our teeth. Teeth are supported by bones, and at the same time, the bones that support teeth need the teeth to survive. When teeth fall out or are pulled, the bone that was supporting them begins to deteriorate. If you wear dentures, they don’t use the bone so the bone continues to fade away.

Dental implants are the alternative to dentures that many people today are choosing. They are permanent false teeth that are the next best thing to natural teeth. Dental implants can only work if you have enough bone left under your gums to support them. The crowns or artificial teeth are supported by metal posts that are implanted through your gums. If there isn’t enough bone to support them, the implants cannot become permanent and will fail. The problem for many people who want dental implants is that they have been without their natural teeth for so long that they no longer have enough bone left to support implants. Sometimes people in this situation feel that they have no choice but to stay with dentures, but there can be a solution.

In a dental bone graft, bone is removed from somewhere else and added to the bone under the gums. Usually the bone can be taken from the chin or back of the jaw. Other places your own bone can be taken from include the hip or shinbone. It is also possible for artificial material to be used to build up the bone under your gums, or bone from animals (usually cows) can be used.

If bone is taken from your shin or hip, this is done in a hospital under general anesthesia. Other dental bone grafting procedures can usually be done in the implant dentist’s office. After the bone graft procedure, healing time of several months is necessary before the dental implant procedure can begin.

Bone grafts are also sometimes used to treat severe cases of gum disease or periodontitis. Dental bone grafts can fail, but the success rate is very high. The chances of success are highest when your own bone is used.

Bone Grafts: The Foundation of a New Smile
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Bone Grafts: The Foundation of a New Smile
A bone graft can provide extra bone to support implants where bone has deteriorated.