Bone grafting may be necessary before an oral surgeon can successfully place dental implants in a patient who has suffered bone loss at the identified implant site. Bone loss commonly occurs after bone loss, and this scenario is most likely to occur in patients who have delayed dental implant placement for a significant period of time. Patients who need to receive a bone graft must build in adequate time to heal from that procedure as part of their overall dental implant treatment timeline.
It does take time for the patient’s jaw to fully integrate the bone graft material into the jaw before proceeding with dental implant placement – the timeframe for which will vary from patient to patient – but the investment of additional time is worthwhile to improve your chances of long-term dental implant success. If you forego the bone graft, your dental implants may fail prematurely.
The osseointegration process in which bone tissue bonds with the titanium dental implant is the foundation of dental implant stability and gives this treatment option the many advantages it holds over alternatives like conventional dental bridges and dentures. However, when a patient has inadequate bone tissue, osseointegration will not be able to be completed.
For the donor bone tissue, an oral surgeon may choose from a number of different sources. Sites in the patient’s own body – such as the chin or hip – may be good sources, or the surgeon may opt for animal sources or bone from cadavers or tissue generated in a synthetic process.
The donor tissue is harvested and then inserted into the implant site during a procedure that is typically performed in an outpatient setting. Your surgeon will then monitor the healing process to determine when you can move forward with getting your dental implants.
Patients who are expecting to receive a bone graft prior to dental implant placement should consult with their providers to learn the specifics of the procedure, including the anticipated recovery time. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have about the bone grafting process!