Tooth loss can happen for many different reasons, from experiencing irreparable damage and decay, to being knocked out during an accident. When this happens, it can have serious consequences for your day to day life. You may feel embarrassed and self-conscious about your appearance. You might find eating or even speaking is more difficult than before. One thing is for certain, you will want to think about your options for restoring your smile and dental implants are without doubt, the most popular method of replacing single or multiple missing teeth.
Dental implants have a completely unique design. Rather than being reliant on either healthy, neighboring teeth or dental adhesive to secure them, they are created with an artificial root that keeps them in place. This artificial root is made from a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone at a pre-determined location, and this is done via an incision in the gum tissue. The success of dental implants hinges completely on there being enough strong, healthy bone to keep the implant post in place. This is because, once the implant post is placed into the desired location, the jawbone then heals around it, securing it permanently in place and giving it the stability that is unrivaled in any other tooth-replacement solution. However, if patients do not have enough healthy bone in their jaw, they may first require a procedure known as bone grafting to make dental implants possible.
Tooth loss can cause patients to experience a number of negative repercussions. Not only will their appearance be affected, and their ability to use their teeth may be compromised, but over time, they will find that the bone in the jaw where the tooth once was will begin to deteriorate. This happens because there is no longer a tooth root. In healthy teeth, the tooth root extends down into a socket within the jaw. When you bite, chew and use your teeth, it stimulates the tooth root and subsequently the bone in the jaw, keeping it healthy and strong. However, when there isn’t a tooth or a tooth root, the bone is no longer stimulated, causing it to weaken and break down. When this happens, there may no longer be enough healthy bone left to support a dental implant restoration.
Bone grafting is a simple, straightforward way of adding bone to an area of the body where there is found to be insufficient quantity, density or quality of the bone that is naturally occurring there. Bone grafting can be performed anywhere on the body, but in the case of dental implants, it is carried out on the jawbone. Either live bone from another part of your body, or an artificial bone substitute, it grafted onto the jaw to encourage and stimulate new bone growth. To aid this process, the graft is normally covered by a collagen membrane which acts as a scaffold for new bone growth.
Bone grafting is usually carried out under local anesthetic with heavy sedation, although a general anesthetic may also be available. It takes between four and twelve months for the new bone to be ready to accept dental implant posts. Once we are satisfied that the bone graft has taken and you have enough healthy bone to accept a dental implant, the remainder of your procedure will be scheduled.