Do You Need A Bone Graft For Dental Implants?

One major issue that comes along with tooth loss is bone loss. The jaw bone can eventually deteriorate when there is no tooth to stimulate the nerves in the bone. For that reason, many patients who lose teeth opt for a dental implant. Before a dental implant can be placed, the jaw bone must be checked to make sure it is strong enough. If the bone is not strong enough to support an implant, then a bone graft may be necessary. However, many patients often wonder if there is an alternative to a bone graft. Here is what you need to know about the health of the jaw bone, bone grafts, and possible alternatives to a bone graft:

How Does the Jaw Bone Deteriorate?

As mentioned, when a tooth is lost, the bone will begin to break down in that area. The teeth are surrounded by bones that keep them in place. Once the tooth goes away, that bone goes through bone resorption.

Another issue that causes bone loss is periodontal disease. You can potentially begin to lose your jaw bone before the tooth falls out. Periodontal or gum disease can cause bacteria to grow beneath the tooth and impact the ligaments that hold the tooth to the jaw bone. Once the ligaments begin to erode, the tooth can fall out and further the loss of bone.

Other less impactful causes of jaw bone deterioration include the use of cigarettes, denture wearing, and misaligned teeth. Smoking decreases the body's immune system and can cause escalated gum disease. Wearing dentures can cause increased bone loss because they continually run on the gum tissue. When the teeth are not properly aligned, there may not be enough stimulation to certain teeth because they are not in the correct place.

What If You Do Not Want a Bone Graft?

A bone graft involves exposing your jawbone and adding replacement bone to it. A bone graft can take months to heal before you can place a dental implant.

If you need to only have one tooth implanted, you may have to get a bone graft. If you need a full arch, you may have an option. A full arch of prosthetic teeth can be attached to the jaw bone in a few areas. If portions of your jaw bone are in decent health, the implants needed to connect the full arch of teeth will adhere.