If you’ve visited a Southampton dentist to attend an implant consultation then at some point in the conversation you may have heard the words “bone graft” mentioned, and quite understandably you may at this point have felt a little alarmed. The good news is that a bone graft is nowhere near as scary as it may sound and is a routine procedure which is often carried out prior to a dental implant.
What’s the reason for a bone graft?
If a dental implant is to be successful then it needs to be placed into sufficient healthy jawbone. This is necessary for the bone to fuse with the titanium implant so that it’s held securely in place and able to support the additional weight of a prosthetic crown. For patients who have suffered bone loss and don’t have sufficient bone, then one solution can be a bone graft.
Bone graft procedure
Bone grafting is quite straightforward and is only carried out once your dentist has determined that you don’t have the quality or quantity of bone that is required to give a dental implant its best chance of success.
To perform a bone graft a dentist will make an incision into the gum at the site of the intended bone graft and lift a flap of skin in order to expose the jaw bone. The bone graft material is then placed onto the site and covered with a protective membrane to protect it from germs and encourage the healing process. The flap of skin is then carefully replaced and the gum stitched back together. Healing time varies from one patient to another but generally takes around 4 months. You’ll likely be given a course of antibiotics to take for a few days following the graft and will be asked to use an antibiotic mouthwash to ensure the gum covering the bone graft remains healthy. Progress of the bone graft can be checked using X-rays to assess the width and height of the new bone and once it’s confirmed that there is now sufficient healthy bone, then the next stage of the dental implant can go ahead.
Where does the material for the bone graft come from?
In essence there are four choices for a bone graft: Autogeous – bone from the patient; Allograft – bone from another human (freeze dried and stored in a tissue bank); Xenograft – bone obtained from animals, usually bovine; Synthetic graft– mineral substitute. Typically bone taken from the patient gives the best results.
If you’re considering a dental implant in Southampton then why not book a free consultation with Smilemakers. We’re a busy dentist in Southampton with a team of highly trained implant dentists. Dr Thomas Darling will carry out a thorough examination and, in the event that you do need a bone graft will explain all the risks and benefits of each type of graft and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Call us today on 02380 442626 to start the ball rolling or check out our website at www.smilemakers.co.uk to find out more.