Dental Implants and Jawbone Grafting

Dental Implants and Jawbone Grafting

Jawbone Grafting

Dental implants in Nottingham and jawbone grafting is on the very edge of dentistry and really belongs in the realms of oral surgery.  Sometimes, when preparing a patient for a dental implant, it will become apparent that it is too soon or that the jaw has otherwise been damaged.  This could have been the result of an open socket like complication or an advanced abscess. Either way, it necessitates the need for a bone graft before a dental implant can be implanted.

The current standard procedure for dental implantation involves opening the gum and placing the implant into a vacant or naturally occurring socket, or after drilling a socket for the implant in order to maximize successful implantation rates. There are strict guidelines on jaw density and jaw thickness that is considered acceptable for receiving an implant.

If after screening, a patient is insistent that they wish to proceed with dental implants, but their jaw density or thickness falls below the required recommendations, a bone graft can be used.  If guidelines are lowered, there is a risk that an implant in a narrow jaw may become loose and be dislodged horizontally compared to the socket. Such an incident would result in further damage to an already fragile jawbone, which will be harder to correct.


Grafting materials

The most common form of bone graft involved is natural bone being collected from a different location in the patient’s body and reallocated into the jaw. This is not the only option; laboratory grown tissue from the patient can be used as part of the graft but there is also the option to graft inert materials and structures into the jaw, which will encourage new bone to grow over while also acting as a stimulus for healing rather than a true graft. Over time, these underlying materials dissolve and are reabsorbed into the body leaving only the new bone behind.

Which of these is most suitable is heavily dependent on the patient’s health and medical history? It would also be wise for them to inform their Dr and any practicing surgeon about underlying ailments or medications, for the purpose of their bone graft as in order to accept a dental implant, such concerns may affect the choice in grafting materials.

The biggest factor affecting both the bone graft and any dental implant is the patient’s rate of bone growth.  In your everyday life, bone growth is rarely a concern as it is constantly being broken down and replaced. As long as the rate of bone growth is roughly equal to the rate of bone breakdown there is little to notice.  Replacement rate is critical to not only a successful dental implant but can drastically alter the rate of implantation fusing, which varies from 4 months up to a year.

After a bone graft you can expect to have swelling of the gums and face along with substantial bruising and discomfort at the immediate site. It is highly recommended that you consume soft foods and avoid smoking due to its substantial effect at retarding bone growth.