The moment that you lose a tooth more happens than you end up with a gap in your teeth. Tooth loss also will lead to bone loss. Your body will decide that without a tooth there that it does not need as much bone, and it will start to absorb the bone into your body. Often we here at Placentia Oral Surgery will be able to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, but there needs to be enough bone there for the implant to hold. If there is not enough bone, we can often still give you the implant. We will just need to do a bone graft first.
A Bone Graft Will Replace Missing Bone
With a bone graft, we can replace the bone that you have already lost. That will give you enough bone in your jaw so that the implant will be able to set.
With a bone graft, we will need to add new bone to the bone that is already there. We will often use your bone to do that. We will take a very small amount of bone from somewhere that will never be noticed. If we do not use your bone, we could use donor bone, bone from a cadaver, or even animal bone. In some cases, we will use a material that was developed specifically for bone grafts.
Once we have the bone, we will usually grind it up into granules that are about the size of sand. If the area that needs the graft is large, we might decide to use a whole piece of bone instead of grinding the bone into granules. We will then apply that to the area that needs more bone and secure it. We will give you care instructions. In some cases, we might give you an appliance for your mouth so that the area will be protected.
There is one important thing that you will need to remember with a bone graft. It is not a process that will heal in just a few days. You are growing new bone with a bone graft, and it could take several weeks or even months until the process takes.
A Word About Implants
Just like a bone graft will take time, a dental implant will take time as well. After the bone graft has healed, we will use screws in the new bone, which will become the new root of the tooth. The screws will need time to become part of your jaw, just like the bone graft did.
While a bone graft sounds like it could be a scary procedure, it is really common. You will just need to make sure that you have enough time. Dental implants are just one option to replace teeth. Here at Placentia Oral Surgery, we would like to go over all of your options with you. You do not need to live with missing teeth. Call (657) 216-1617 to make an appointment. Since a bone graft and an implant take time, you do not want to put it off any longer.