Bone Grafting

Bone Grafting Southampton

Once a natural tooth has been extracted, if no substitute is put in its place shortly afterwards, such as a dental implant; the bone in the area of that tooth will gradually ‘die’. This process will be speeded up if any gum problems are already present.

If the person decides to have dental implants fitted latter on, problems may arise as there may by then be insufficient bone structure to place the implants into.

However, this can be rectified prior to a dental implant by a bone grafting procedure.

Bone Grafting Procedure

The bone that will be used for the grafting may come from a variety of sources. The most likely and most successful is taken from the person having the bone graft; very often this will be taken from the hip bone. Other options are from a bone bank of specially treated bone or even a synthetic substitute. However, a bone from the donor themselves is far less likely to be rejected by the body.

Where a bone graft is required, this will extend the time taken for the dental implant to be fully functional. If no bone graft is needed, a period of 3 – 6 months is usual; however if a graft can be done at the same time as the dental implant it will probably take a period of up to 12 months and if the bone graft needs to be done prior to the implant, this can extend the period up to 18 months.

There has also been considerable success using the technique of ‘guided tissue regeneration’ in cases where there is insufficient bone available for the implant. After a tooth has been removed, the gum will eventually seal up leaving no indication that there once was a tooth there. Part of this process is that the gum cells fill the void in the socket that has been left by the extracted tooth. To prevent this happening; after extraction, a membrane can be placed over the hole in the socket. This allows the soft tissue to grow above it whilst not allowing it to fill the socket before the slower growing bone cells have a chance to.

Sinus Augmentations

Quite often, the bone above the upper back teeth, which is a softer material, can be very shallow and therefore not suitable to receive a dental implant. This can be rectified using a ‘sinus lift’ or ‘sinus augmentation’. Again, bone from either the patient or from a bone bank or synthetic substitute, is placed into these areas. This allows new bone to grow which provides a firm base into which the implants can be placed.

Depending on the quality and amount of bone overlying the sinus area, the implants may be placed at the same time as the grafting procedure. However, this bone must be left to mature prior to any dental implants being placed. Depending on the precise nature of this procedure, the implants can usually be placed between four and nine months after the sinus lift procedure has been done. On occasions though, it may be necessary to allow a little longer before placing the implant.

Once the dental implants have been placed following a bone graft or sinus lift, they are left for a period of between six and nine months before the replacement tooth or other replacement such as dentures, are attached. The length of time however, can vary depending on each person’s individual circumstances and this will be discussed with the dentist at the time.

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