Dental implants are fake teeth placed into your jaw bone. However, if you don't have enough bone in that area, you may need a bone graft. Here are some of the issues to consider before having a graft for a dental implant:
1. Which type of bone do you want to use?
If you are having a bone graft to enlarge your jaw bone so it can hold a dental implant, you have a few different options on where to get the bone. You can use your own bone, a bone made from cadaver or cow bones, or a synthetic bone. Ultimately, the choice varies based on your personal comfort levels and the availability and price of alternatives in your area.
2. What site do you want to use for your bone grafting?
If you opt to use your own bones, you have a few different options. Your dentist can augment your jaw bone using bone from your lower chin, tibia or hip bones as well as other spots. If you have had injuries in any of these areas in the past, you may want to use a different area. Additionally, you will want to weigh issues such as scarring possibilities and healing time. For example, if you don't want a visible scar, you may want to opt to take bones from a discrete area like your hip rather than a prominent area like your chin.
3. Do you have time for a bone augmentation?
Once the bone has been harvested or found, your oral surgeon will place it in your mouth. At that point, you have to wait several weeks or even a few months while the new bone and the old bone fuse together. Only then can your dentist move forward with the implant.
If you are looking for a speedy solution because of a wedding, a family photography session or for any other reason, you may want to explore alternatives to implants and then think about bone augmentation later. For example, in some cases, it may be faster to make partial dentures or a bridge rather than wait for a bone augmentation procedure.
4. Are you willing to go through the healing process?
In addition to taking time, the healing process after a bone augmentation surgery involves some participation from you. Namely, you may have to avoid certain foods, use mouthwash more often and not put pressure on the area. Most patients can handle that, but if you are worried that you wouldn't be able to follow doctor's orders, you may want to explore other options. Similarly, if your body tends to heal slowly or is resistant to antibiotics, you may also want to look into other options.
To learn more about bone augmentation before dental implants, contact a dentist today. They can help you make the right decision for your circumstances.