Dental implants are undeniably the best replacement option for missing teeth, but they’re also the most complex. Remarkably, your jawbone fuses with the dental implants to support them permanently as they hold onto your custom crown, bridge, or denture. Dental implants work just like your natural teeth, allowing for flawless speaking and chewing.
Unfortunately, everyone isn’t a candidate for dental implants. John P. Freeman, MD, DDS, FACS, guides you through the careful evaluation and planning process to find out if you’re ready for dental implants from his self-titled practice in Katy, Texas.
Based on the results of your appointment, Dr. Freeman might inform you that you need a bone graft before proceeding with implant surgery. If you’re not initially a candidate for dental implants because of low density in your jawbone, bone grafting could be the key to making you the perfect candidate.
Bone grafting is necessary for many people because they’ve lost bone density in their jaw. Daily, two processes are going on in your jawbone: resorption and ossification. Ossification is the creation of new bone cells, while bone resorption is the breakdown and removal of older bone cells.
The roots of your teeth anchor them into your jawbone. When you lose a tooth and its root, the process of ossification can’t keep up with the rate of bone resorption. Over time, your bone loses mass.
Dr. Freeman finds out if you need a bone graft during your initial tooth replacement consultation. An X-ray shows your jawbone and allows Dr. Freeman to look for weak spots that require grafting before you get dental implants or Teeth in a Day.
Before performing your bone graft for dental implants, Dr. Freeman must decide how to source the bone material he’ll place in your jaw. You have multiple options, including:
No matter the source of your graft, your natural bone will grow around it. Through the process of ossification and resorption, your body eventually replaces the entire graft with new and natural bone.
Not every dental bone grafting surgery is exactly alike. Dr. Freeman chooses a technique based on where you need an implant, how much bone is lost, whether you need a tooth extraction, and other factors. Common techniques include sinus lift surgery and ridge augmentation.
During surgery, Dr. Freeman numbs the area with local anesthesia. You may have the option for sedation if you’re anxious about your surgery or have trouble sitting still for its duration.
Once your jaw is numb, Dr. Freeman makes an incision and pulls back the tissue to reveal the underlying bone. He disinfects the tissue before placing the grafting material in the bone. Before repositioning your gum tissue and closing the incision, he might place an extra membrane for protection.
If you’d like to learn more about dental implants for tooth replacement and find out if you need a bone graft first, call the office of John P. Freeman, MD, DDS, FACS, or book a consultation online today.