When a tooth is lost, the area where it once was can start to lose bone. If the tooth root is no longer there, the body has no reason to preserve the surrounding bone in that area. Left untreated for a long period of time, that bone loss can make it difficult to anchor a dental implant when the patient then wants to replace that tooth. Even people with dentures can lose their ability to support and use their false teeth as the jaw bone naturally erodes over time. Bone grafting is a very effective method for restoring bone to the jaw.
Bone grafting can be a scary concept for many patients. Because it involves surgery, this is understandable. However, there may also be some misconceptions that make patients more anxious than they should be. Here are a few myths about dental bone grafting.
Grafting is very painful and requires a long recovery.
The first day following a bone graft procedure generally requires the patient to stay home and rest. However, patients can get back to their regular routines after this. Physical activity can resume after about a week. Most patients don’t even need to take over-the-counter pain medication after their bone graft procedure.
A bone graft is always necessary before placing dental implants.
Some patients have retained sufficient jaw structure to not require bone grafting. During treatment planning, dentists will determine whether or not bone grafting is necessary and, if so, whether or not the implant can be placed at the time of the bone grafting procedure, or if it will have to be placed during a separate appointment. In most cases, the two procedures (bone grafting and dental implant) can be completed in one appointment.
It’s not worth going through a bone graft just to get dental implants.
Because dental implants offer more stability and function than other teeth replacement options such as bridges or dentures, most dental implant patients would probably say that the procedure is worth it. Not only are the replacement teeth beautiful, convenient, and functional, but the implants then help to preserve the bone, allowing patients the use of the implants for years to come.