If you need to get a dental implant, you'll be pleased to hear that this procedure has a 98% success rate. However, your chances of success decrease if you don't have jawbone that's strong enough to support the implant. Here are some questions you might have if you want to replace a missing tooth with an implant but need a graft first.
Who Needs a Bone Graft?
Your dentist will tell you whether your bone is capable of fusing with an implant's titanium surface. If it isn't, you'll need a bone graft. People who may need a bone graft are those who've suffered from the following:
- Facial injuries
- Developmental defects in the oral cavity
- Periodontal disease
Even if you are in good health, you may need a bone graft if you've been missing a tooth for a long time. When a tooth is missing, the alveolar bone atrophies and resorbs itself.
What Are Bone Grafts Made of?
There are four main types of grafts: xenografts, autografts, alloplasts, and allografts.
The pieces of tissue in these grafts come from animals, like pigs or cows.
To make an autograft, your dentist will surgically remove some healthy bone from another site in your body (like your hip, chin, or shin) and then deposit it in the jaw bone. If you are in pretty good health and have strong bone elsewhere in your body, your dentist may choose to use an autograft.
Alloplasts are grafts that are made from synthetic materials.
These bone grafts are from cadavers. Although it may seem odd to get tissue from a deceased donor, these grafts are safe since they have to be free of disease before being submitted to the tissue bank.
How Much Do Bone Grafts Cost?
While the cost of a bone graft can differ from dentist to dentist, Costhelper estimates that a graft can range from $200 to $3,000. This range can vary widely for many reasons. For instance, xenografts typically cost less since you don't need to undergo surgery in multiple spots like you would with allografts.
Your dentist may include a bone graft in the total cost of your implant procedure, but it's a good idea to confirm with your office that that's the case.
How Are Bone Grafts Placed?
There are different methods of bone graft placement. For example, if you recently lost a tooth and you are getting an allograft, your dentist may perform a socket graft. During this procedure, the allograft is placed directly into the tooth socket. This type of placement is beneficial because it prevents the tooth socket from collapsing. Socket grafts are also less invasive and can minimize post-operative pain from the surgery.
If your dentist needs to restore a large area of bone, he or she may place either a block bone graft or a lateral-ridge preservation graft. With bone blocks, your dentist may use small titanium screws to hold large grafts in place. With lateral-ridge preservation, your dentist will layer bone grafts to increase the width of your jawbone.
How Painful Is the Graft Procedure?
You'll either have local anesthetic or general anesthesia during graft placement. The procedure itself is completely painless since you'll be numb and/or sedated. As you heal, you may be a little sore, so you'll need to take the prescribed painkillers and antibiotics that your dentist recommends.
How Long Do You Have to Wait to Get Your Implant?
You will have to wait until you fully heal from your bone graft before you get your dental implant. It's important to wait because if the bone graft doesn't fully fuse to your natural jawbone, then the implant could fail. Depending on your health and habits, you could be waiting a couple of months or a year for full healing. For example, it could take a patient with diabetes longer to heal since they typically have poor circulation.
Talk with your dentist today for more information about dental implants and whether you would require a bone graft first.