Dental implants are an excellent long-term solution for teeth lost due to gum disease, tooth infection, injury, or accident. Implants are placed directly into the bone of your jaw to support dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, and dentures. Implants do, however, require sufficient tissue in the jaw to support those dental implants.
The sufficiency of bone tissue in the jaw is a common issue that needs to be addressed when assessing the appropriateness of dental implants because bone loss is directly linked to tooth loss. The absence of teeth and tooth roots in your jaw causes gradual deterioration of bone tissue because the stimulation provided by the teeth roots is absent. The longer that you live with missing teeth and tooth roots, the smaller the jaw becomes. This process is called bone resorption. Some studies indicate that you may lose 25% of bone density within the first year of suffering tooth loss.
At a certain point, the bone becomes simply too small to hold the implant while providing the support required to sustain the forces imposed by chewing and biting. Bone grafting in Winnipeg is one of the solutions to that problem. Bone grafting can bring implants back into reach for people who’ve suffered tooth loss.
What is bone grafting?
Bone grafting is the process through which bone tissue is added to your jaw. Bone grafting near you is usually done under general anesthesia. The surgeon will cut a flap into the gums in the area of the jaw to be supplemented. The surgeon will then place the new bone tissue against the existing jaw bone, then attach that new bone to your jaw with a titanium screw before covering the grafted bone with membrane material and stitching up your jaw.
Where does the grafted bone come from? Commonly, bone tissue is taken from elsewhere in your body — often from your hip or the back of your jaw. This is called an autograft. Bone tissue can also be taken from a human donor other than you, in a process called an allograft. In a third set of cases, bone tissue is taken from a donor animal — often a cow — in a process called a xenograft. Increasingly, dental bone grafting at a dental clinic near you is performed using synthetic (artificial) bone tissue rather than human or animal tissue.
Is bone grafting always necessary?
The longer that you live with missing teeth, the more likely it is that you’ll require bone grafting to accommodate a dental implant. Having said that, bone grafting is not always necessary depending on your particular situation and the anatomical peculiarities of your face and jaw. Your dentist in Winnipeg will determine the need for bone grafting from detailed digital images taken during the assessment and planning stage of your treatment. While the downside of bone grafting is the need to undergo multiple procedures to achieve your implants, the end result will be a jaw bone strong and large enough to support your implants and to restore your full and free dental function.
Your dentist in Winnipeg may describe alternatives to bone grafting even if your existing bone structure is too small or weak to support traditional titanium dental implants. In such cases, a zygomatic implant may be an appropriate alternative. Zygomatic implants are implanted into your zygoma rather than your jaw. Your zygoma is an irregularly shaped bone in your face usually referred to as your cheekbone.
Bone grafting sounds like an intimidating process, and we understand if you’re anxious about the process and if you have lots of questions about it. To get answers to those questions and to identify all your options for receiving dental implants, including about getting bone grafting near you, contact a dental clinic near you to arrange a consultation.