Tooth loss is a common issue that affects millions of Americans throughout the country. Fortunately, losing a tooth doesn’t mean you need to go the rest of your life with a gap in your smile. Dental implants are a preferred tooth replacement option because of their numerous benefits. However, some patients need a bone graft before they can have dental implants placed. Continue reading to learn from your dentist in Tomball about why this is sometimes necessary.
Why Does Missing Some Teeth Cause Bone Loss?
The root of your tooth stimulates your jaw whenever you chew to keep it strong and healthy. However, when you’re missing teeth, your jawbone isn’t receiving this stimulation. Over time, the bone tissue begins to be reabsorbed by your body. As time goes on, more bone deteriorates. This can cause difficulties when it comes to eating and speaking. It can even affect the alignment of your natural teeth.
What Is Bone Grafting?
A bone graft works by placing existing bone tissue into the jaw. This bone can come from another part of the mouth, a different area of the jawbone, or by a human or animal donor. Sometimes, synthetic material is used. Once this new piece of bone is placed in the correct area, it will bond itself to the preexisting bone by creating new cells around the grafted material. In the end, you will build up additional bone tissue in the areas that need it. This is a relatively minor procedure and patients are typically sedated throughout the process. Most who receive bone grafts report the experience was pain-free!
Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?
Needing a bone graft before getting dental implants is fairly common. This technique is required when a patient doesn’t have enough healthy bone tissue in their mouth that is capable of supporting dental implants. Oftentimes, this is a result of previous tooth loss, but it can also be caused by developmental defects, periodontal disease, and facial injuries.
What Happens After My Bone Graft?
After the bone graft procedure is complete, your dentist will prescribe you antibiotics to prevent infection. If deemed necessary, you may also be given pain medication for the recovery period, but many patients are able to do great afterward with just the antibiotics. Once the bone graft fuses with the natural bone in the mouth, your dentist will be able to place your implants. Depending on your case, this could take anywhere from 3-12 months. It all depends on how substantial your bone loss is.
A bone graft may sound scary, but it is a very common procedure needed before implant placement surgery. During your initial consultation, it will be determined whether one is necessary for you. You’ll be on a path towards a straighter smile in no time!
About the Author
Dr. James Geer began working to help patients in Tomball more than four decades ago. After a brief retirement, he realized the inner drive to practice dentistry was still there and so he got back to business at his private practice. Dr. Geer earned his dental doctorate at the University of Texas at Houston and he’s a member of the American Dental Association. If you are interested in dental implants, Dr. Geer can perform the entire procedure at his office location. But first, you can find out if you need a bone graft and learn everything else about the premier tooth replacement option during a consultation. You can schedule one on his website or by calling (281) 357-4337.