Bone grafting can occur anywhere in the body, and doctors use bone grafts in the treatment of a variety of health issues, including fractures, spinal fusions, bone infections and more. However, bone grafting is also a fairly common procedure in dentistry, and more specifically, in the placement of dental implants.
The success of dental implants relies on a procedure called osseointegration. This is when the bone in the jaw regenerates and heals around the implant post. This secures it permanently in place and forms a strong, durable anchor for the visible part of the solution – a custom-designed crown. However, for osseointegration to take place, there must first be enough healthy bone in the jaw. For this reason, patients are carefully assessed before they undergo dental implants. X-rays and CT images are used to view and assess the quality of each patient’s jaw, and this will determine if you are a suitable candidate for the procedure.
However, if we discover that the bone quality or density in your jaw is unfavorable, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is impossible for you to have dental implants. Instead, you may first need to have bone grafting.
Bone grafting is the name given to the process of taking healthy, live bone from one part of your body and grafting it on to another. In the case of dental implants, bone is often taken from the shin or hip, although other donor sites or even artificial bone are possible. This is then attached to the bone in your jaw where it stimulates new growth. The grafting process itself takes a number of months, but once enough new bone has been generated, there should be sufficient for you to successfully have dental implants put in place.
Benefits of bone grafting include:
Preservation of the jaw bone from where the tooth was extracted
Strengthening of the bone and maintained facial structure
Preparation of the site for any future implant procedure
There are a lot of different professionals that claim to be able to offer a dental implant service. While legally, any licensed dentist in the United States can place them, since the procedure to obtain dental implants can be complex, it is strongly recommended that patients opt for a specialist who is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons deal with the diagnoses and treatment of diseases that include the mouth and jaw. To do this they undergo an extensive program of education and training, beyond that of a conventional dentist.
Board certification is a significant achievement that not all professionals obtain. This is because, to become board-certified, you must be put through and pass a series of tests. These may be theoretical or practical depending on the board, but typically include written practical or simulator-based testing. To achieve accreditation, professionals must show that they can meet the rigorous standards set by the board. In some accreditations, it is also necessary for oral and maxillofacial surgeons to also show a commitment to consistently training and learning.
If you would like more information on why to choose a board-certified surgeon for your bone grafting procedure or to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our skilled cosmetic surgery team.