Getting Dental Implants? 3 Reasons Your Dentist Might Recommend Bone Grafting First

Posted on: 19 February 2015


When you watch head-to-toe makeovers on TV, the person featured on the show might shop for new clothes, get their hair done, and receive a full set of dental implants in a single day. However, because dental implants need to fuse to existing jaw tissue, some patients require additional procedures to prepare the area. If you are thinking about getting dental implants, here are three reasons your dentist might recommend bone grafting first:

1: Bone Loss

Has it been awhile since you lost your teeth? Believe it or not, your jawbone will gradually melt away after your teeth fall out. Your teeth are held in place by gum tissue and small ligaments. As you chew food and use your teeth, the pressure placed on dental structures helps to keep the area strong and healthy. Unfortunately, once teeth fall out, those tissues shrink away and resorb.

For your dental implant surgery to be successful, implants needs to be anchored in a strong bed of bone. However, if your jaw has partially melted away, there might not be enough tissue for dentists to use.

Fortunately, doctors can graft bone to the affected area to reinforce your existing tissue. Bone grafts can be harvested from other parts of your jaw, or doctors can use tissue from cadavers or cows. After the bone grafts have been placed, your jaw will need about 4-9 months to heal before you can get your dental implants. Fortunately, once dental implants are in place, they will fuse with your jaw and keep the bone healthy.

2: Gum Disease

Unfortunately, living without a few teeth for a while isn't the only thing that can damage your jawbone. If you lost your teeth because of advanced tooth decay or gum disease, the underlying bone can become soft, weak, and unfit for implants. To repair the area, your dentist might recommend bone grafting. In addition to adding additional bone, your dentist might also treat your jaw with these methods:

  • Flap Surgery: To remove infected tissues, your dentist might cut a flap into your gums and scrape away tartar. During flap surgery, your dentist might also reshape damaged bone tissue so that implants sit properly.
  • Guided Tissue Regeneration: Your dentist might even place fine pieces of collagen membrane around the bone graft site to guide the direction of new growth. These guides can help your new grafts to fuse with the existing tissue and strengthen the entire area.

To determine your need for bone grafting and regeneration, your dentist might send you to get a CT scan. This advanced imagery can help your dentist to determine the current thickness and condition of your jawbone, in addition to the proximity to major nerves and sinuses. With the help of bone grafting, your dentist can rebuild your jaw, even if it has been ravaged by years of decay.

3: Previous Injuries To The Area

Did you lose your teeth because you were involved in a fight or car crash? If you sustained a blow to the face, it could have damaged the structural integrity of your entire jaw. Unfortunately, dental implants might not anchor properly if your jaw isn't stable.

Accidents can also introduce infections to your jaw, which can cause bone loss. Fortunately, your dentist can use bone grafts to add structure and support. By working with your medical team, your dentist can evaluate your current condition and determine if you are healthy enough for grafting. Once grafts have been placed, your dentist will monitor the healing. After grafts have fused, your dentist can shape them to prepare the area for your new dental implants.  

By taking the time to have your jaw properly prepared for dental implants, you might be able to avoid complications and keep your new teeth in place for many years to come. If you would like to learn more about how to prepare for dental implants, then do some research online at a dental clinic's site like