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A dental implant is among the most superior solutions for replacing a lost tooth. In some cases, however, people need bone grafts to help make the mouth ready to support a dental implant.

While the words bone graft may seem serious or even painful, this is not as uncommon as you might think. Here are common reasons why people need bone grafts and what materials make up bone grafts.

Strong Bone Support for Implants

Unlike dentures, bridges, or other dental appliances, an implant functions almost exactly like a regular tooth, with a post that integrates to the bone that supports your healthy teeth and gums.

A dentist inserts the posts that support an implant first. Then the dentist allows for Osseo integration to happen, where the implant fuses to the bone. Healthy, strong jawbones do not react negatively to a post; they instead provide greater strength to the post, which allows the implant to work like your other teeth. When the bone is weak, placing the post could result in implant failure or even in lasting injury.

If implants are the right choice for you, be prepared for the possibility that you might need grafts first to strengthen the bone.

Conditions That Lead to Weak Bone Support

Some people might not even realize that anything is wrong with the bones they have until they see a dentist about getting an implant. However, teeth and the bones in your jaw have a symbiotic relationship, and certain dental and health conditions can compromise the support of the bone without you even realizing there was a problem.

These are the most common reasons why people end up needing bone grafts before implants.

Facial Injuries

If you lose teeth because of injuries to the teeth and jaw, you could end up needing a bone graft because portions of bone are lost or weakened because of the injury. If you have a broken jaw or crushed bones, they might not heal to be as strong as they were before you were hurt. Bone grafts help to make up for this weakness.

Bone grafts are the first step to a full recovery after massive dental trauma, and they not only help with the restoration of your smile by supporting implants, but they can also help to restore the proper shape of your face if trauma altered it.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Periodontal disease first starts to cause inflammation of the gums.

In the early stages, you might notice bleeding when you brush and increased tissue tenderness.

But when gum disease progresses, the bacteria that cause gum disease can spread to the jawbone as well. The bone starts to wear away, which is one of the reasons why teeth gradually lose support and fall out.

To replace teeth that are lost because of gum disease with implants, you need to restore the damaged bone. You also should plan to completely treat gum disease before beginning the implant process.

Dental Infections

Some people experience dental abscesses. These have a number of causes, but the result is the same. A pocket of infection forms around or even inside the tooth. If left untreated, the bone around the tooth also starts to become prey to the infection and loses essential structure. The resulting weakness remains even after antibiotics treat the infection.

Because a dental abscess often results in tooth loss, an implant is a good option to replace that tooth, but a bone graft has to fill in the places that the infection affected.

Bone Loss After Tooth Loss

Teeth and bone work together to provide your oral structure. When you push down on your teeth while chewing or talking, the pressure goes through the tooth to the bone. This stimulation is what generates new bone cells to keep the bone strong. In turn, the bone provides strong support for teeth and soft gum tissue.

When you lose a tooth, that portion of the bone no longer receives pressure sensations from the tooth. Slowly, you have reduced bone structure in the area where the tooth is missing. To prepare for an implant, especially if the tooth has been missing for a long time, bone grafts bring back what was lost.

Materials for Bone Grafts

Typically, dentists get bone grafts for implants from your own bones, usually from the chin or another area of the jaw. However, you might also be able to get bones from a cadaver, or even from animal or man-made sources. One in place, the grafts take several months to heal into bone that is strong enough for implant installation.

For more information, contact us at A-Dental Center. We are happy to answer all your questions and concerns about bone grafts, dental implants, and any of our services we offer at our dental office.