Dental implants are a permanent replacement option if you are missing teeth that both look and feel like natural teeth. 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 tiny titanium rod that is surgically implanted into your jawbone. This rod replaces the root of a missing tooth, and is then capped with a dental crown to create a natural looking tooth that functions and feels like your real teeth.
And what is a bone graft?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure whereby bone material from one part of the body (or synthetic bone material) is grafted onto the bone in another part of the body. In short, a bone graft is essentially a bone transplant. Bone grafts are usually performed 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?
Most of the time, a bone graft is needed before dental implant surgery because 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's tooth was missing. It could also be that the patient naturally has a small jaw bone that is not sufficient to support the implant.
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.