Why do I need a bone graft for a dental implant?

So you have lost or are about to lose one or more teeth and you have opted to have dental implants- the titanium replacements for natural tooth roots. They will be placed into the bone under the gums and teeth will be attached to them so that you can chew as well as with natural teeth.  Why then might the dentist tell you to you need some bone grafting?  There are many reasons depending on the condition of your mouth.

The first thing the dentist has to decide is where and what position the new teeth have to be to function well and look the way nature intended. The position teeth need to be dictates where the implants have to be positioned. 

If the implants are to go where teeth are about to be removed, infections or gum disease may have caused bone loss around these teeth so artificial bone is place where the teeth were removed to act as a scafold for natural bone to grow in and infections to resolve. Without it, the remaining bone would shrink away.

If teeth have been missing for a long time, the bone where the teeth were will have already shrunk away.  The presence of teeth and the forces of chewing stimulates bone and keeps it there.  When teeth are lost, so is the supporting bone. For a dental implant to be placed correctly sometimes bone often has to be added.  Years ago before bone grafts were as common as today, dental implants were placed wherever solid bone could be found.  The result, implants in unusual angles that were hard to put teeth on and often with unesthetic results.

Simply put, if you want to build a new house, it needs to be on a solid foundation.  No one would to build a house on sand or a sink hole.  With a solid foundation, in the correct position, dental implants will have better and longer lasting results.

Dr Steven Rosenblat

Great things start with a smile!