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One of the complications of losing a tooth is bone loss. When your tooth is intact, it constantly stimulates your jawbone when you chew. This keeps the bone strong and healthy. When the tooth is missing, there is no bone stimulation, so the bone gradually recedes. Bone loss could be a problem when you get an implant, because you need a certain amount of bone to hold the implant in place. To solve this problem, your dentist can do a bone graft. This is how it works.
If you have just one tooth missing, the dentist may be able to get bone from your jaw or chin to use for the graft. If so, this procedure can be done right in the dentist's office. If you have several teeth missing and need to replace a large section of bone, it may need to come from another location, such as your hip. If the bone comes from your hip, you'll need to have the procedure done in a hospital. This will usually require general anesthesia and an overnight stay. Your dentist might recommend you use synthetic bone for the graft instead. Another option is to use bone from a human organ donor.
The bone graft is used to increase the height or width of your natural bone. The dentist will attach the graft with screws to hold it in place. Over the period of several months, the graft will fuse with your natural bone and the screws will be removed. The dentist won't be able to proceed with the implant until the graft is fully healed. Your dentist will probably send you home with antibiotics and pain medication after you get your graft. You can expect discomfort for a few days, and you'll need to be careful about chewing on the area for a few weeks. The dentist may put in a temporary bridge to provide protection to your gum and bone while it heals. Your rate of recovery depends on how quickly your bone fuses with the graft, but you can expect it to take several months until you can proceed with the next step of getting your implant.
Once your graft surgery has healed and the graft is fused with your bone and is stable, the dentist can drill a hole into the bone to screw in the implant. Once again, you have to allow time for your bone to heal. This time it will fuse to the implant. In several months, the implant will be securely attached to your bone and be ready for a crown.
Although it takes a long time to go through the implant process from beginning to permanent crown, it's worth it. An implanted tooth is just as strong as a natural tooth since it is seated into your bone. It's a good way to replace a single lost tooth or to replace several. You can even have dentures attached to implants, so they won't slip when you eat or speak.
For further assistance, contact a dental implant specialist, such as Bruce Mathes DDS.Share
1 May 2015