Bone Grafting For A Successful Dental Implant

Bone Grafting For A Successful Dental Implant

More than 69% of all Americans between the ages of thirty-five and forty-four are missing at least one of their teeth. That is almost seven out of ten people in the country within that demographic, and as the ages increase, so do the number of missing teeth. By the time the average American is in their 70s, they will have lost all of their teeth.

Dentures are one possible solution for the problem. But they offer a number of drawbacks, especially when it comes to hygiene and convenience. Younger sufferers of tooth loss will be especially reluctant to go the denture route, preferring instead to rely on a more permanent repair. That is where dental implants come in.

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is the root of a tooth replacement or crown, which has been surgically applied within the jaw of the bone. This is done for security and permanence, so the dental implant lasts longer, and provides better grip and strength for the patient. There are many reasons that dentists prefer them to other methods.

However, dental implants are extremely expensive. Insurance will usually cover on part of the cost, and in some cases none of it. Meaning between the abutment placement, the crown itself, and the other components, it could cost as much as $5,000 per tooth. Because of the cost, it is crucial that every chance be given for the procedure to be a success.

The best way to ensure a positive outcome is to first apply a bone graft.

What Is Bone Grafting, and Why Would I Need It?

Bone grafting is a procedure that may be required for you to receive a dental implant. The jaw bone is hard and sturdy in most people. But for some, the bone itself could be thin, soft, or damaged by past injuries. In these cases, the bone will have to be thickened in order to properly anchor the dental implant. Otherwise it my become loose or dislodged in time. The implant my even further weaken the jaw and cause long term problems.

There are two ways you can graft a bone. The first is to use a bit of bone from the patient’s body. It will be removed, and applied through surgery onto the jaw. Over the course of several months, the bone will thicken using this graft, increasing the mass.

The second method is to use a grafting material (this is far more common) to apply to the bone. Sometimes this is an animal bone, such as from a cow. Your dentist may also opt for a synthetic material in place of animal bone.

Depending on how much bone is needing to be grafted, it may be possible to combine the grafting and implantation procedures within the same operation. Otherwise, anywhere from three to six months may be required before the implant can be placed.

Is Bone Grafting Painful?

Gauging the pain of dental work can be tricky. Everyone has a different tolerance of pain in that area; for some, a cavity being filled is agony. Others have their wisdom teeth extracted like it is no big deal. You could be anywhere between these extremes, and so your experience could vary greatly from another patient.

You will be given painkillers to assist with the discomfort and swelling. Ice pack may also be helpful for managing swelling, and numbing the jaw from the outside. Some bruising is normal, and it may take several weeks before it has completely disappeared.

If you are worried, you can speak to your dentist about your concerns. They will provide you with a list of ways to lessen your pain, including foods to avoid. A liquid diet will likely be necessary for a few days post-operation, to limit the pressure and movement placed on your new graphs. Following this diet is a simple way to reduce pain.

How Successful is a Dental Implant After Bone Grafting?

The point of a bone graft is to increase the chance of success in a dental implant. For most, that will be the outcome. Unfortunately, some patients will not see the results they are hoping for. Variables such as the general health of the patient, their age, past dental work, overall bone strength, rate of recovery, lifestyle and more can all be factors in whether or not an implant “takes”.

Normally, your periodontist will be able to ascertain the likelihood of success based on a thorough exam and x-rays. For most patients, there will be no complications following a bone graft and dental implant. But it is important you attend all post-op appointments to monitor healing and progress, so your dentist can catch signs of rejection early.

How Much Does a Bone Graft Cost?

Bone graft prices vary on the amount of material used, the number of areas covered, and the type of material. When using the patient’s own bone matter, it is more costly at approximately $2,000 to $3,000 per grafting sector. That is due mostly to the cost of the anesthetics used for the procedure, and the time spent in the hospital.

However, using another material could cost as low as $250 per sector, or as much as $1,100. Cadaver and cow bone is less than some synthetic materials, but may not be appropriate for your specific case.

Keep in mind that your periodontist will have an idea of the best material to use for your unique situation. A cheaper surgery is not necessarily any better or worse based on outcomes. It is about what you need, and how you are most likely to heal from the operation. In some cases you may be able to convince your periodontist to make adjustments to fit your budget, but take into account their reservations during the talk. They may have very valid reasons for avoiding certain materials.

You can find out more about bone grafting, implants and other dental topics at Billings Denture Clinic.

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