Bone grafts and dental implants

Bone Grafts Nottingham

For those who have lost one or more entire teeth with teeth roots, dental implants may be the solution to replace lost roots. However, dental implants may not be suitable for all, particularly those with weak bone density, loss of jaw bone volume or conditions such as osteoporosis.

Fortunately, procedures such as bone grafts or bone augmentation may allow for strengthening of the jaw bone prior to treatment with dental implants. Bone grafts in certain cases make dental implants a viable option.

Suitability for dental implant treatment

An implantology dentist uses diagnostic tools such as x-rays and digital imaging to determine jaw bone quality for potential dental implant treatment. In some cases, a bone Densitometry (DEXA) may be performed to determine bone density and diagnosis of conditions such as osteoporosis.

In some cases, the jaw bone may simply be too weak or too narrow for dental implant operation. During dental implant procedures, the implant dentist gently drills small holes within the jaw bone for insertion of dental implant posts or skrews. If the jaw bone density is very weak, there is high risk of bone fracture.

For this reason, certain individuals may not be good candidates for dental implant treatment. The best way to find out the quality of your bone density for dental implant treatment is to be evaluated by a qualified dental implant expert.

Weak jaw bone density

While frequent falls and fractures are signs of weakening bone density, it may not be that obvious in terms of oral health. Although improper teeth brushing technique may lead to receding gums, so may bone loss. As finger nails may become brittle and susceptible to breaking, so may tooth structure and associated jaw bones.

Weaker bone structure may be hereditary or caused by other factors such as Vitamin D deficiency. A bone building programme of supplements may help to strengthen bone quality. However, where missing teeth require replacement with dental implants, bone grafting procedures may be necessary before dental implant operation may proceed.

Dental bone graft procedures

Although bone may be grafted from animals or artificially, it is generally recognised that bone grafts taken from our own bodies to build up jaw bone strength or dimension is more likely to be successful. Dentists may remove bone from the lower jaw, chin, tibia shin bone or hip to build up the part of the jaw bone that needs strengthening. Bone grafting procedures are usually preformed in hospital under general anaesthetic.

Incisions are made in the part of the jaw bone that will receive the grafted bone. The grafted bone is then fixed to the part of the weak or narrow jaw bone with screws made of titanium and bone augmentation material. The site with incisions is secured with membrane-type seal for encouragement of bone fusion. Over a five to ten month period, the bone fuses and heals, strengthening the jaw bone.

Different types of bone graft procedures may be performed to: raise the height of the upper jaw bone such as sinus lift or distraction osteo-genesis; widen the jaw through jaw bone ridge expansion; or relocate the nerve in the lower jaw bone.

Dental implants with bone grafts

Once healing occurs after bone graft procedure, the implant dentist will again assess jaw bone density and quality for receipt of dental implants. Bone graft procedures are generally successful allowing for insertion of dental implants and anchoring of dental restorations to replace missing teeth.