Medically Reviewed By Dr.Minto.

Stock FMBlogImagesDental 15 092221When you lose your teeth or need to have teeth extracted, it is important to replace those missing teeth as soon as possible. For most patients, the best way to replace missing teeth is with dental implants. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, which is anchored into the jawbone where it can create a steady foundation for a dental prosthesis. 

The dental restoration process can become complicated if there is a lack of adequate jawbone. Without sufficient bone tissue present, there may not be a way to securely anchor the implant in place. The good news is that this issue can usually be addressed with a safe and simple procedure known as bone grafting. 

Dr. Minto can perform several different types of bone grafts, providing patients with solutions for full dental restoration. 

What is a Bone Graft? 

Bone grafting is an oral surgery procedure that involves harvesting bone tissue from elsewhere on the body then transplanting it to the jaw. This small sample of transplanted bone can stimulate the body’s production of bone tissue, regenerating healthy bone where it is needed the most. 

Note that in some cases, a bone graft may also use bone tissue from another human donor, from an animal, or even from synthetic bone alternatives. 

Why are Bone Grafts Necessary?  

Not all patients require bone grafting in order to have dental implants placed. Bone grafting is normally needed when there is not sufficient bone tissue for the dental implants to take root. 

This can happen for a few different reasons. Most commonly, bone grafting is needed because the jawbone has deteriorated. In order to remain healthy and strong, your jawbone requires constant stimulation from the tooth root. If you lose a tooth and do not have an implant placed promptly, you lose that stimulation, which can cause the jawbone to atrophy.  

In addition to causing unwanted changes to your facial appearance, an atrophied jawbone can also result in difficulties with dental restoration. A bone graft can resolve the issue, as implants provide the stimulation needed to avoid further atrophy. 

Additionally, some methods of tooth extraction may require a part of the surrounding jawbone to be removed. This may also result in the need for bone grafting before dental implants can be put into place. 

Different Types of Bone Grafting 

At your dental implant consultation, Dr. Minto will perform a physical examination of your jaw, teeth, and mouth, letting you know if you require a bone graft before having your dental implants placed. 

A few of the most common types of bone grafting procedures include: 

Bone Grafting to Restore Deteriorated Jawbone 

The upper or lower jawbone may be insufficient for securing a dental implant in place. This may happen when teeth are lost and not replaced promptly, or it may happen as a result of untreated periodontal disease. Deterioration can also happen when you have your teeth replaced with bridges or dentures, which are great for replacing missing teeth but do not function as replacement tooth roots. 

A bone graft can be used to regenerate bone tissue where it has been lost, providing a way to hold implants in place. 

Ridge Augmentation 

Another common type of bone graft is ridge augmentation. Ridge augmentation is needed if the tooth cannot be extracted without the removal of a significant amount of bone tissue. This procedure can recreate the natural contour of the gums and the jaw, which can become damaged during the tooth removal process. 

Sinus Lift 

The tooth roots can extend into the maxillary sinuses, which are located behind the cheeks and just above the upper teeth. When you have these upper teeth extracted, it may leave you with just a thin wall separating the sinuses from the mouth. This thin wall may be insufficient for holding implants in place, but the issue can be addressed with a bone graft. 

Nerve Repositioning 

Your inferior alveolar nerve gives feeling to your chin and bottom lip. Sometimes, this nerve has to be moved in order to create room for dental implants. This can result in at least partial loss of feeling in the lower lip, making it an extreme measure, yet it may be the only way to put the lower dental implant in place. 

Socket Preservation 

Tooth extraction may be required because the teeth have been badly damaged by decay or disease. When this happens, the degradation can extend to the socket, which is the bone holding the tooth in place. This can cause the jaw to become malformed, but it is something that can be addressed with a type of bone graft known as socket preservation. 


Are You a Good Candidate for Bone Grafting? 

If you do not have enough jawbone for safe and successful dental implant surgery, bone grafting can be a solution. If you live in Fairhope, AL and have questions about the benefits of bone grafting, or simply wish to know about the types of bone grafts that exist, we invite you to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Minto.