Adequate jawbone mass and density is essential to oral health, particularly for patients who are considering dental implant treatment. The long-term success of dental implants is dependent on the amount of bone that surrounds them. Therefore, patients with missing teeth may require bone grafts prior to their implant placement. Dr. Luminita Markham can perform bone grafting for patients who want to qualify for dental implants.
Why Do People Lose Teeth?
People generally lose teeth for two reasons – either a tooth is decayed past the point of being able to save with a filling or crown (with or without a root canal), or the bone and gum structure surrounding a tooth weakened due to periodontal disease (gum disease) and the tooth could no longer be saved and maintained.
Why Does Bone Matter?
When tooth loss is caused by periodontal disease and bone loss, there is often not enough bone left in the area to place an implant where the tooth once was. In addition, if a patient has a tooth extracted, there are situations where bone loss does occur at the same time as the extraction due to the nature of the problem with the tooth.
The reason that bone level is so important when it comes to dental implants is that one needs sufficient bone available to hold the implant in place. If there is no bone available, then the implant has no way to stabilize in the jaw. Therefore, in order for an implant to heal and function properly, it must be completely surrounded in healthy, dense jawbone.
Do I Need a Bone Graft?
Not every patient who wants to have dental implants will require a bone graft. One of the diagnostic steps Dr. Luminita Markham takes when she evaluates a patient for dental implants is to examine the amount of bone present and determine if a bone graft is necessary. If a bone graft is needed, a common approach is to plan ahead and have a bone graft placed at the time of extraction and/or at the time of implant placement.
For example, if you have a tooth that cannot be saved, it often makes sense to place a bone graft at the time of extraction so that the area heals with the bone graft already in place. Bone grafts can be done at a later date, but it’s usually easier for the patient if the bone graft is done at the time of extraction because the patient (a) does not have to come in for a second procedure, and (b) because having the graft done earlier speeds up the implant process.
About the Bone Grafting Procedure
In years past, dentists had to harvest the bone grafting material from another part of the body. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. If you have a region of excess bone in the oral cavity, it can be transferred to the deficient area. However, in most cases, the bone grafting material is simply purchased from a bone and tissue bank. Dr. Markham can talk with you about the type of bone she recommends for your procedure.
Schedule a Consultation with Us Today
If you have questions about bone grafting, or if you want to find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, Dr. Markham offers a complimentary implant consultation at our Auburn, CA practice. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment at (530) 823-8771.