Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?
Bone GraftingBone grafts are used to “build up” (augment) the jaw where bone is deficient. These bone defects result when certain conditions (infection, gum disease, and too much force on existing teeth) cause bone to resorbed (melt) or when teeth are removed. Once teeth are removed, the surrounding bone is no longer in function and overtime the bone will resorb or melt away. With loss of jaw bone structure, proper chewing, facial support and esthetics are impaired. For proper long-term function of a dental implant, it must be properly placed in a solid foundation of bone.
When teeth are removed and bone grafting material is placed in the extraction site, this is known as “site preservation”. Site preservation is the simplest form of bone grafting and works to “fill in” the area where the tooth was removed to assist the body in filling the extraction area with solid bone that may be ideal for dental implant placement in the future. Although, “site preservation” can be performed at a later date, the peak success rate is when the grafting is performed immediately following extraction.
In cases where the teeth have been missing for a while or in cases of previous infection, more extensive bone grafting may be needed to build up the area. This can be done when a bone graft is “harvested” from one area of the mouth to another, known as an Onlay Graft. An alternative grafting procedure which utilizes the most advanced technology is the use of a substance called BMP which is applied to the area deficient in bone and secured with a mesh. In the upper jaw, if bone height needs to be reconstructed, then a Sinus Lift will be the preferred option. All bone grafting requires 3-6 months of healing time before implants can be placed. This time allows for the bone to become solid to properly support implant placement.