When you have missing teeth, chances are you have looked into or come across oral implants.
A permanent solution for lost teeth, implants physically resemble screws and are affixed to your jaw. After fusing has occurred (3-6 months post fitting), false teeth are placed onto the implant, allowing you to have a stable tooth that is as functional as a natural one and is aesthetically pleasing too.
However, there are certain criteria that need to be filled in order for you to receive oral implants and, should you have an insufficient amount of jaw, your dental team may suggest a bone graft. This is becoming more common in the placing of oral implants and, as dental teams devise better options relating to the fittings and the surgeries which surround their placement, the success rate of grafts in relation to oral implants has increased! Which is good news all round!
Want to know more about bone grafts and their role in the fitting of a dental implant Melbourne? Read on for a simple introductory guide.
What are bone grafts?
As the name suggests, a bone graft is when your oral surgeon places a piece of bone on top of your jaw, to increase the width and height of the bone where your oral implant is to be placed.
Generally, your dentist will infuse the graft with proteins such as collagen to stimulate faster fusing and bone growth. Depending on where you require the bone graft, they will use a slightly different procedure for the upper and lower jaw.
When are they needed?
If you have lost a tooth naturally or via extraction, it is highly probable that the extraction site has since shrunken down; your jaw no longer needs to hold a tooth in place, thus it recedes.
So, bone grafts are needed to rebuild areas that have shrunk in size due to the lack of a tooth or teeth, to ensure that the implant has a sturdy base to attach to.
Does it slow the fusing process?
When your dental team fits you with a bone graft, this will be done prior to an implant being fitted so, in a way, it does lengthen the entire process, but does not impact on the fusing of the implant to the bone.
Depending on the size of the graft and the location, you can expect it to take between 2 weeks to 2 months to fuse, after which your dentist will begin fitting the implant(s).
Are they sturdy?
If you have a bone graft made from your own bone, chances are it will fuse quicker and will be tougher. Should you choose a synthetic graft, this does not inhibit its sturdiness, but it can impact on the success rate and issues surrounding rejection.
Long term studies into oral implants have found that there is no discernible difference between the success of natural versus synthetic bone grafts, so it is entirely your decision as to which type of bone graft you undertake.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.