For people who are having dental implants fitted, it is important that the jaw bone is healthy and strong. This is because, much like natural teeth, implants need a robust foundation if they are to be effective and long-lasting. The upper and lower parts of the jaw differ in composition: the lower jaw bone is much more dense in comparison with the upper part; and this is important when the dentist is assessing the health of both for the purposes of dental implants.

When a tooth or teeth is removed, gaps that are not resolved can result in bone loss within the jaw – and over time, it becomes more difficult to replace the missing teeth. People who are considering getting dental implants should bear in mind that the treatment is ideally performed within six to eight weeks of having a tooth or teeth removed.

After six to eight weeks, the jaw bone is unlikely to have deteriorated to any significant degree. Waiting for around this amount of time also means that the gums will have healed from the tooth extraction; and will be in good enough health for the fitting of dental implants.

How does the dentist decide if bone grafting is needed?

Every case is assessed on an individual basis, and not every patient will need bone grafting before dental implants. The dentist assesses the structure of the jaw using special tests such as x-rays and CT scans. The purpose of these scans is to find out how dense and robust the jaw bone is; and if it is fit for supporting dental implants. Having completed this assessment, the dentist may decide that bone grafting is necessary to strengthen the jaw before implants can be fitted.

When does the dentist do bone grafting?

In many cases, bone grafting can be performed at the same time as dental implant treatment. The bone graft is melded into the jaw bone; and then the dentist makes incisions for the titanium roots that will hold the implants in place.

Some patients, who have been assessed as having an especially weak jaw bone, cannot have dental implants at the same time as bone grafting. In these cases, the grafting is completed – and then the area is left to heal for around six months before commencing the fitting of implants.

What materials are used for bone grafting?

Bone grafts can be performed using bovine, porcine derived or synthetic materials; and the patient’s own bone can be used. This can come from their mouth or even the tibia; and is the ideal material to use for strengthening the jaw. This is because it is much more likely to be well-received by the body – foreign materials have a higher rejection rate.

What are the benefits of bone grafting? For many people, getting this kind of treatment done means that they can resolve the issue of missing teeth with dental implants. Bone grafting can also help to improve oral health and the health in general, so if it’s necessary, this procedure is well worth considering.