FAQs About Dental Bone Grafting

Dental implants replace missing teeth by fusing to the jawbone and anchoring the white, porcelain crowns that look like natural teeth. But what happens when there isn’t enough bone mass to anchor a dental implant? Patients who have had missing teeth for a while, especially those who smoke, are more likely to have insufficient bone mass. This conundrum is correctable with dental bone grafting , which allows patients in San Diego to have dental implant surgery, even if they weren’t initially considered good candidates for it. bone - grafting

Where will the bone graft come from?

In past years, surgeons took bone from elsewhere in the patient’s body to graft onto the jawbone. It’s called an autologous graft when the patient’s own bone is used. Now, surgeons prefer to use other bone graft material whenever possible. The most common choice is a xenograft of bovine or cow bone. The idea of receiving cow bone in the jaw might be a little off-putting, but patients can rest assured that the bone is only taken from cows proven to be healthy. Harvested bone goes through an exhaustive sterilization process. In the end, all that’s left is the mineral structure of the bone material.

What’s a sinus lift?

Unique challenges are associated with the placement of dental implants in various parts of the upper and lower jaws. The maxillary sinus is a very close neighbor of the maxilla, which is the upper jaw. Only a thin strip of bone separates the sinus cavity from the tooth roots. Because of this, patients who lose a tooth in this area generally must undergo a sinus lift before getting a dental implant. This procedure builds up the bone mass so that it can safely support the implant post. During a sinus lift, the surgeon lifts the sinus membrane to place the bone graft right into the floor of the sinus.

What will the recovery be like?

Patients should always follow the instructions their surgeons give them, as they can differ from patient to patient. In general, patients are advised to avoid strenuous activity for two to three days after having a bone graft. Swelling is normal. Patients can apply ice packs for 20 minutes at a time during the first 48 hours to minimize the swelling. The surgeon can prescribe pain medication to keep the patient comfortable and antibiotics to prevent infections.

A Closer Look at Titanium Implants

Oral surgeons have a few types of dental implants they might use, but the titanium implant is the most common choice. This is because they are associated with optimal preservation of bone density, and because these implants are more durable than subperiosteal implants. If you’re considering options for replacing your missing teeth, consider looking for a dental implant specialist in San Diego who has extensive experience working with titanium implants. dental - implants

The Basics of Titanium Implants

Titanium dental implants are those that are surgically implanted directly into the patient’s jawbone. This allows the implant post to remain firmly anchored in place, as the bone fuses to it over time. Essentially, an titanium implant mimics the function of a natural tooth root. In contrast, subperiosteal implants are positioned above the jawbone, but underneath the gum tissue. As you might expect, subperiosteal implants are not nearly as durable or strong as titanium implants.

The Components of Implants

Dental implants have a few main parts. The implant itself, often called the post, is implanted into the jawbone. An abutment screws on top of the implant. The third main component is the crown, which is the white part that looks like a natural tooth. It encases the entire post and abutment.

The Placement of Endosteal Implants

Dental implant procedures require advanced training and skill. Choose a board-certified oral surgeon who specializes in implant procedures. First, you’ll have a consultation and examination to make sure that endosteal implants are right for your needs. It takes a few appointments to fully complete the process. During your second appointment, the surgeon places the implant post into the jawbone. Over the next few months, the area will heal and the bone will fuse to the implant. Then, the abutment is screwed onto the implant. After this, your general dentist or a Prosthodontist can bond the permanent crown in place.

How Can Impacted Teeth Cause Malocclusion?

Wisdom teeth tend to erupt during adolescence or early adulthood. But quite often, they erupt improperly or they get stuck under the gum tissue. This is known as tooth impaction, and it can have adverse consequences for your oral health, including malocclusion. The potential for wisdom teeth impaction is one reason why family dentists take X-rays regularly. These allow the dentist to identify potential problems and refer the patient to an oral surgeon near San Diego. Taking the impacted teeth out can prevent malocclusion and other complications, such as oral abscesses.

Malocclusion refers to an improper alignment of the teeth. It’s why so many people get braces to straighten their teeth. There are many causes and risk factors of malocclusion. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause misalignments because they can erupt at an undesirable angle toward the adjacent teeth. This causes the adjacent teeth to shift from their normal position. By getting the wisdom teeth removed, patients will be more likely to preserve a comfortable bite pattern.

misaligned - teeth

Why Dental Implants Might Fail and How to Prevent It

When the procedure is performed by a skilled oral surgeon, dental implants have a high rate of success. But sometimes, problems do occur. Before getting dental implants, talk to a specialist in San Diego about the potential risks, causes of implant failure, and ways of preventing these problems. With careful research and dentist-guided preparation, you can look forward to having your new smile for a lifetime. dental - implant

Infections

Infections are among the most common reasons for failure of oral implants. An oral infection that occurs after a dental implant procedure is called peri-implantitis. This infection results in inflammation of the gum tissue and, if left untreated, damage to the bone mass that is supporting the implant post. As a result, the implant may fail. Occasionally, these infections may develop from bacterial contact during the surgery or from leakages of dental cement, but becoming a patient of a board-certified oral surgeon can significantly reduce this risk. One common cause of peri-implantitis is smoking, which is why oral surgeons often require patients to quit smoking before having the procedure. Smoking increases the risk of oral infections in part because it inhibits blood flow, which is necessary for proper healing. Some possible signs of peri-implantitis include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Reddened gums
  • Deepening gum pockets
  • Pus

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with the dentist right away.

Osseointegration Failure

After the dentist places the implant post beneath the gum line, the area is left to heal for several months before the next procedure can be performed. During this period, the jawbone fuses to the dental implant to keep it firmly in place. This process is called osseointegration. Failed osseointegration is another possible reason for dental implant failure. It’s indicated by the loosening or falling out of the implant, or by the loss of bone mass. Osseointegration failure can be caused by a number of factors, including physical trauma to the jaw, infection, inaccurate positioning of the implant, and the use of certain medications. It might not always be possible to prevent osseointegration failure, but taking the following steps will certainly help:

  • Choosing a board-certified implant surgeon
  • Quitting smoking, if applicable
  • Avoiding high-contact sports during the healing process
  • Discussing medications before having the surgery

Allergic Reactions

Most implant posts are composed of titanium alloys. Rarely, a patient may have an allergic reaction to the titanium, which can cause implant failure. Patients can be checked for titanium allergies with the MELISA test.