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Bone Grafting

Dental implants are an essential treatment option for replacing missing teeth, restoring function and enhancing esthetics. It takes a certain level of general understanding of this dental practice to comprehend the hardware design and placement of a dental implant to produce optimum results. This understanding happens to be common knowledge for dental practitioners. It is not, however, common knowledge when it comes to non-dental experts. Understanding the basics of dental implants and how bone grafting is used to create a secure foundation for the implant, is an important part of understanding this treatment option.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the most natural looking and feeling treatment option for replacing missing teeth. A dental implant involves two parts: the actual implant, which is installed beneath the gum line; and the crown, which is the part we see. The implant functions as a sort of artificial tooth root and the crown restores function where the tooth was missing.

Dental implants are made of titanium due to the metals natural properties that allow it to integrate or fuse together with bone. Because the implant requires bone for support, the patient must therefore have an adequate amount of bone present for the implant to be securely attached to. Unfortunately, not everyone has said amount of bone available. A tooth that is not replaced, but instead left missing, will ultimately lead to bone loss and possible disfigurement.

For those patients that do not have enough bone available in the jaw to support the implant there are other options. Bone grafting allows surgeons to restore the amount of bone available to support an implant.

What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is the process of taking bone from somewhere else on the body and moving it to another site. In the case of dental implants, your surgeon might take bone from your hip, rib or leg and fuse it to your jaw to allow the proper amount of support for the appliance.

The bone used for the graft can be either your own, a donor or both. There are two main types of bone grafting:

•  Allograft - Allografting refers to using bone that came from a deceased donor.
•  Autograft - Autografting refers to using only bone from the individual who is undergoing grafting.

Risks of Bone Grafting

As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with bone grafting. However, given the risks that exist if you were to not replace your missing tooth, the associated risks are not all that bad.

•  Infections - Any time an incision is made the risk of infection exists.
•  Non-absorption - In some cases the bone does not fully fuse together.
•  Bleeding - Bleeding from the side of the incision is possible post-op.
•  Inflammation - You may experience minor swelling of the entry site.
•  Redness - Redness and some swelling on the entry side should be expected.

Bone grafting is a highly useful procedure that offers the opportunity for those with inadequate bone structure to replace a missing tooth with a natural looking and feeling solution. If you are in need of a replacement tooth solution, contact Midwest Periodontics today.
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Steven Southard DDS, MS
Midwest Periodontics
1006 W St Maartens Dr, Suite A
St Joseph, MO 64506

(816) 207-4005

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