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Scared You Need Bone Grafting Before Dental Implant? 2 Simple Grafts Explained

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If you suspect you may need a bone graft before you obtain a dental implant or your dentist mentioned that you need one, you may be feeling fearful of this process. The truth is that you have nothing to fear because dentists and implant specialists perform bone grafting all the time - it just sounds scarier than it really is. While there are other types and methods of bone grafting, here are two simple grafts that are often performed before dental implants.

1. Socket Graft

A socket graft is also sometimes called a ridge preservation graft. Its alternate name reflects exactly what it does. Socket grafts are typically animal bone (which means no harvest from your body is needed) and they are placed right into the socket of a tooth after it is extracted to help keep your natural tooth-supporting bone from being reabsorbed by your body. They also add some extra bone tissue to the site to help support your implant.

This graft is typically made of many small bone granules and not one large piece of bone. Once placed in the socket of your extracted tooth, they are held into place with only a couple of stitches. They then begin to fuse with your natural jaw-bone. They take several months to completely fuse with your natural bone, and then your implant can be placed. This extra bone helps give your implant screw more support to help it last a very long time with no problems.

2. Block Graft

A block graft is a larger bone graft used when a dental implant needs more supporting bone than a socket graft can provide. This type of graft is often needed when there is a lot of bone missing in the jaw where the implant will be placed due to infection or natural bone loss. 

To perform a block graft, the dentist or oral surgeon first removes a small block of bone from an area of your jaw or the inside of your chin bone where it is not needed. Then, the bone is transferred to where your dental implant will be placed in the future. It is typically adhered into place by tiny screws that can then be removed when your body "accepts it" through osseointegration. A block graft also needs to be performed several months before your dental implant is placed to allow time for the area to heal and the bone to naturally fuse into place.

These are two of the most common types of bone grafts performed before dental implants are placed, and one may be what you will need if your implant specialist thinks your implant will need the extra support. Both are very safe and performed routinely by implant specialists. Contact a local dentist, like Crystal Dental Care, for more information.