It isn't uncommon for adults to lose a tooth due to decay, injury or some other trauma. One solution for individuals who are missing a tooth or multiple teeth is a dental implant. The process usually requires two steps, including the placement of the implant into the bone and the attachment of a crown to the implant after it has been given time to fuse to the jawbone.
Unfortunately, if there isn't enough bone there for the implant to fuse to, an implant cannot be placed. Luckily, there is a solution: bone grafting.
Why Is There Insufficient Bone for an Implant to Be Placed?
In some instances, you may have lost one of your teeth several years ago. However, it was until recently that you had the money to have something done about it, such as a dental implant. Unfortunately, by this time, it is likely that the jawbone where the tooth root once was has deteriorated.
This means that there may not be adequate bone available to support the dental implant. One of the reasons your teeth are so important is because they help to keep the jawbone healthy and strong.
How Bone Grafting Helps
A bone graft will drastically improve the likelihood of a dental implant successfully fusing to the bone. Bone grafting is a common procedure that may be able to replace the missing bone so that a dental implant can be supported. It is an outpatient procedure and consists of replacing your insufficient bone with a piece of bone that is harvested from another part of your body; a processed animal bone (typically a cow); or a bone from a tissue bank.
In some cases, a bone graft may not even be necessary. Instead, bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs) can help stimulate the growth of any remaining jawbone in the area and eliminate the need for the bone graft surgery. One study shows that within about four weeks, new bone can grow.
Taking the steps to improve your smile can help you leader a fuller, happier life with increased confidence and better overall oral health. If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, it's time to talk to your dentist about your options. Your dentist will be able to conduct a full examination to determine if a bone graft is even needed. If it is, just remember that it will leave you one step closer to a beautiful smile. To learn more, contact a professional like Morrell M Russell DMD.