Dental implants are a great replacement for missing teeth. They are the most natural functional and aesthetic options. However, they are also the most invasive option, and sometimes require supplementary procedures, including bone grafts.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium rod which is surgically implanted into your jawbone. It replaces the root of a missing tooth. It's capped with a dental crown to create a natural looking tooth that functions and feels like your real teeth.
What is a bone graft?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure whereby bone material from one part of the body is grafted onto the bone in another part of the body. It is essentially a bone transplant. This is typically done to fix bone that has been damaged by trauma, and in general to increase the volume of bone in a certain area.
Why might I need a bone graft for my dental implant?
In some cases, the available jaw bone is simply not thick enough or too soft, to support to a dental implant. This is usually because some bone material deteriorated during the time the patient had a missing tooth. It could also be that the patient has a small jaw.
A bone graft creates a solid foundation for a dental implant.
Depending on the condition of your jaw bone and the number of dental implants you need, you may need a substantial bone graft, which may take up to nine months to heal sufficiently for the implant to be placed. Or, you may only need a minor bone graft, which can actually be done in conjunction with the implant surgery.