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Are you wondering if you need a bone graft for dental implant? Many patients have concerns about bone grafts for their dental implants but not everybody needs it. Let’s take a closer look at when a bone graft may be required.

When Do Dental Implants Need Bone Grafting?

Dental implants give people with missing teeth the opportunity to replace their lost teeth at the root. The dental implant is a metal screw, which embeds into the jaw bone. Your dental practitioner will then attach an abutment (an extending bridging piece that connects the implant with the crown) and then finally place the crown on top. The reason that dental implants are among the most effective and most successful tooth replacement options is that they look and function like your teeth. In order to do this, they need to be able to withstand the same force and pressure that your natural teeth would, and they can only do this if they are embedded in bone thick enough to withstand this force. Not only does a bone graft provide a more solid base to hold your dental implants, but it can also restore your facial contour where the bone has deteriorated.

Bone Loss Occurs When Teeth Are Missing

If you have had a missing tooth for a while it is quite likely that you have experienced bone loss at the site. When the jaw bone is not stimulated by the presence of teeth roots, it starts to degrade. One of the prerequisites to be a candidate for dental implants is that you have enough jaw bone to support them. In some patients, grafting can be performed to stimulate the jaw into growing more bone tissue. If you do not have enough jaw bone or your dental practitioner has concerns that your jaw is too soft, your dental implant surgery will fail.

Bone Grafting For Dental Implant

For many patients, the bone can be taken from other parts of the body (like the hip or chin) and inserted into the site of the dental implants. In patients where this is not possible, synthetic bone can be used or bone can be taken from another source.

Sometimes, the bone tissue is taken from animal sources and at other times, from cadavers. It is necessary to have alternate sources available because not every patient wants to have two incisions or surgeries for their dental implant procedure.

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Understanding Dental Implants Surgery

Your dental implant surgery consists of a series of procedures. Usually, the damaged tooth has to be extracted if it is still in your mouth. If you need a bone graft it is likely to be done at this point.

Your periodontal surgeon will make an incision and the bone tissue will be embedded into your jawbone. and if the procedure is successful, it will stimulate new bone growth in the site in the coming months.

It will take a few months for bone tissue in your jaw to regenerate and while you may be concerned about the delay in your treatment, the bone graft is an essential part of dental implant surgery for many people. In some cases, a patient may only need a minor bone graft, and this can be done at the same time as placing your dental implants.

Little bone grafts

A little bone graft is when your dental practitioner places granulated human bone into the socket of your missing tooth. The incision will be covered with a collagen membrane.

Medium bone grafts

What distinguishes a medium graft from a little bone graft is that height and width need to be restored in a medium bone graft. Your dental practitioner will insert enough bone material in order to rebuild the height and width of your jaw.

Big bone grafts

Big bone grafting is usually required when a person has been missing multiple teeth for an extended period of time and has experienced significant bone loss. In these instances, bone granules are not sufficient and a block of bone needs to be acquired. The block of bone will be inserted with screws or plates. This type of bone graft takes much longer to heal than a little or medium graft.

A Sinus Lift For Dental Implants

When you do not have enough tissue in your upper jaw to support dental implants, a sinus lift will need to be performed because your sinuses are situated just above your upper teeth. During a sinus lift, the sinus membrane is lifted from the sinus walls so that the bone can be inserted between your sinus floor and membrane. A collagen membrane is used for protection while you heal from the surgery.

A sinus lift takes at least four months of healing before your dental implant surgery can go ahead.


What Can You Expect After The Bone Graft Procedure?

It is quite normal to experience some swelling and bruising after a bone graft procedure. There may be some bleeding and general discomfort but these symptoms should improve in the days following your procedure.


The most accurate way to know whether you need a bone graft for dental implant is to speak to an expert. Contact Serenity Smiles Dental today to find out more about an assessment: (02) 9158 6753.