Dental implants are used to support crowns, making them ideal for people who are missing teeth or need to have teeth pulled due to the presence of significant dental problems. When you get a dental implant, your dentist places the implant directly in your jawbone. The implant eventually bonds with the natural bone, creating a sturdy base for the placement of a crown. For this process to work, your jawbone must be strong enough to accept the implant.
If your dentist determines that your bone is too thin or too soft, you may need to have a bone graft before the implant is placed. Here is what you can expect if your dentist recommends a graft.
Bone grafting is the process of transplanting a piece of bone into a bone that has weakened as the result of a disease or an injury. Although the piece of bone can be harvested from a healthy bone elsewhere in the body, many dentists now use processed bone or a synthetic grafting material, eliminating the need for patients to undergo the harvesting procedure.
If your dentist decides that it is appropriate for you to be asleep during the procedure, he or she will administer medications to help you go to sleep. If you will be awake during the procedure, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area. Once you are numb, your dentist will make an incision in the gums to expose the jawbone. After placing the grafting material, your dentist will close the incision with stitches.
Plan to have someone drive you home after your grafting procedure, even if you only receive local anesthetic. Having someone else drive will give you a chance to focus on your recovery and not have to worry about paying attention to the road. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and pain medication to reduce the risk of infection and keep you comfortable while you recover. After the procedure, you will need to eat soft foods to give your mouth a chance to heal. Your dentist may also ask you to use an antibacterial mouthwash to further reduce the risk of infection.
The graft needs time to heal before your dentist can place the dental implant, so you may have to wait several months between the time you get your graft and the time you get your implant. In the meantime, you may experience some discomfort and gum irritation as the surgical site heals. If you experience severe pain, bleeding or other worrisome symptoms, contact your dentist right away.
Dental implants are an excellent option for many people, but not everyone has a jawbone strong enough to support an implant. If this applies to you, bone grafting can strengthen your jawbone and ensure that you get a good result from your implants. To learn more about your options, visit resources such as http://premierdentalgrp.com/.