If you’re missing one of your natural teeth, a dental implant is an excellent option for restoring it. However, in order to qualify for dental implants, you need to have enough bone in your jaw to support the actual implant, which will attach to a dental crown to complete your restoration. Unfortunately, the amount of bone in your jaw decreases over time each time you lose a tooth.
In fact, the width of your alveolar bone—the bone in your jaw—decreases 25% in the first year alone after you lose a tooth, and can decrease up to 60% in the next three years . The good news is that you may be eligible to get a bone graft to support your dental implants in a simple surgical procedure at your dentist or oral surgeon’s office.
How Can a Bone Graft Help Support Dental Implants?
A bone graft will help create a more solid foundation for your dental implant . However, not everyone will need to have a bone graft prior to a dental implant procedure. Only those who have lost a significant amount of bone in their jaw due to months or years of missing a natural tooth will need a bone graft to qualify for dental implants.
The bone for your bone graft can be taken from another area in your own body, or your oral surgeon may use a synthetic or cadaver bone. The bone will need to heal for a few months after being grafted to your alveolar bone, although each particular person is different and healing times can vary.
For those who require a bone graft for their dental implant, the good news is that the new bone can help support the long-term success of your dental implant, meaning you increase the chances of a healthy, lifelong, successful restoration for your missing natural tooth .
What Should You Expect During a Bone Graft Procedure?
During a bone graft procedure for your dental implants, general anesthesia is required. This is typically an outpatient procedure done at your dentist’s office and may take a couple hours, but you’ll be able to go home the same day. You can expect to experience some discomfort after the procedure, but as long as you follow your dentist’s instructions for healing, the discomfort will subside within a few days and you can return to your normal activities in about one week following the procedure.
Is a Bone Graft Right for You?
Although a bone graft for dental implants may sound like a big deal, the results are well worth it—you’ll have a permanent, secure tooth restoration that will last for life with the right care. If you’ve lost a tooth or are even missing several teeth, you may be able to qualify for dental implants with a bone graft. Ask your dentist about your implant options and if you qualify for a bone graft during your consultation!