If you have lost one or more teeth, your dentist may suggest an implant-based restoration. Dental implants are widely used as foundations for tooth-replacement devices.
The implants take the place of the lost roots of the missing teeth. They are topped by abutments and crown-replacement devices. Nevertheless, if your dentist prescribes a standard dental implant, you must have enough jawbone tissue to support the embedded device. The girth of the jawbone can diminish due to a lack of stimulation.
When the teeth are present in their sockets, they relay stimulation to the jawbone from the pressure that incurs as you bite or chew. This stimulation from mastication incites the production of healthy new bone cells that preserve the thickness of the jawbone. When too little stimulation is received, the jawbone atrophies.
If your jawbone has become too thin for a standard dental implant, your dentist may suggest a bone graft. Here is a bit of information about bone grafts to help you better understand them.
What Is a Bone Graft?
A bone graft for an implant is a surgical procedure during which your dentist adds bone to an area of the existing jawbone to promote the regeneration of the tissue. As the jawbone tissue grows, it integrates with the grafted tissue, forming a thicker structure.
Are There Different Types of Bone Grafts for Dental Implants?
There are different types of bone grafts, depending on the type of tissue that is used in the graft.
- Autografts. An autograft applies bone that has been harvested from another area of the patient's body, such as the leg or hip.
- Synthetic grafts. Synthetic grafts use a material that is made in a laboratory. The material is hard, but it is not actual bone tissue. Synthetic grafts often use glass or calcium as the grafting material.
- Xenografts. With this graft, the bone is taken from an animal source, such as a cow or horse.
- Allographs. The tissue is taken from another human, typically a cadaver.
Is General Anesthesia Used During a Bone Graft?
Local anesthesia may be sufficient if the bone is taken from a source other than the patient. However, if the bone is being harvested from the patient's own body, the removal may be performed at the same time as the grafting procedure. Thus, an autograft will likely require general anesthesia.
To learn more about bone grafts and dental implants, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.