For patients who have experienced tooth loss, dental implants can profoundly improve their quality of life by restoring bite and smile. Dental implants are comfortable and reliable, and they look and feel like real teeth. It’s easy to see why so many patients are eager to enjoy the many benefits of this innovative procedure.
However, we often see patients who are concerned that it may be too late to receive dental implants. Older individuals or patients who have experienced bone loss in the jaw may assume that they’re not a candidate for the procedure. This is a common misconception.
In reality, it’s rarely too late for dental implants when you’re being treated by a good periodontist. If you’ve experienced bone loss in the jaw, all hope is not lost. A certified periodontist can strengthen your jaw with a procedure called a dental bone graft. Below we’ll talk about how bone grafting is an effective method for putting you on track towards a successful dental implant procedure.
Requirements For Dental Implants
In order to understand what makes a patient a candidate for dental implants, it can be helpful to understand how the implants are installed. Implant dentistry requires a series of procedures that take place over the course of several months.
The first and most important step involves connecting the actual dental implant to your jawbone. The implant serves as an artificial root, so it must be planted into something that can provide it with stability. As a result, there must be enough bone available to secure the implant in place, grow around the implant, and support it for an extended period of time.
After the implant has healed, your periodontist will add an abutment to the implant, and then later a crown will be attached to the abutment. In between each phase, patients must undergo a waiting period while the area heals. The entire process takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months, or in some cases even longer.
Because the whole procedure relies on your jaw’s ability to support the implant, your periodontist must determine that you have enough bone available before recommending implants.
If your jaw is not strong enough, dental implants are still an option. You may just have to go through an additional step called bone grafting. If your periodontist is certified in performing bone grafting procedures, it’s rarely too late to receive dental implants.
What Exactly Is A Dental Bone Graft?
A dental bone graft describes the process of strengthening your jaw by applying bone from another source. In many cases, that source is another area of the jaw, but could also be the hip or tibia. Once a bone graft is applied to the jaw, bone tissue grows around the graft over time, which helps create additional volume and density to the jaw.
Bone grafting is an important technique that helps increase a patient’s eligibility for restorative dental treatments. The procedure is very common, safe, and has a high success rate.
What To Expect During And After Bone Graft
Before installing dental implants, your periodontist will conduct a thorough exam of your teeth, gums, and jaw. At Ormond Beach Periodontics, we use the latest diagnostic technology including digital x-rays, CT scans, and 3D imaging. This equipment allows us to get a detailed view of your jaw and an in-depth understanding of its overall condition. Then we can easily create a good treatment plan and determine whether a bone graft is necessary before dental implant surgery.
In many cases, your periodontist will place you under general anesthesia for the procedure. This means you likely won’t be able to eat or drink for 12 hours leading up to your appointment. In other cases, a periodontist may recommend a local anesthetic. Because anesthesia is used, patients report feeling little to no pain during the procedure itself.
A small incision will be made across the gums to expose the weakened area of the jaw. The area will be thoroughly disinfected before the bone graft is placed. The graft will be covered with a membrane material that protects it from damage. Then, the gum tissue will be carefully replaced and the patient will receive sutures to promote healing.
After the procedure, you most likely will experience pain, bruising, and discomfort while the surgery site heals. The most severe side effects should subside within a couple of days, and full recovery can take up to two weeks. During this time, it’s very important to keep the surgery site clean in order to prevent infection.
You should also refrain from vigorous rinsing, smoking, and eating hard foods while the surgery area is healing. Pain and swelling should subside fairly quickly. Your periodontist will likely prescribe antibiotics as well as pain medication.
How Long Will I Have To Wait For Dental Implants?
After a bone graft, there is usually a waiting period before dental implants can be installed. Remember, the surgery area needs time to heal and the bone tissue needs time to grow. Once the bone tissue has increased the density of your jaw, you can then move forward with the first stage of dental implant surgery. The timeline varies from patient to patient, but the average timeframe between the bone graft and implant surgery is about 4 months.
How Ormond Beach Perio Can Help
Because your jaw serves as the foundation for dental implants, ensuring it’s strong enough to support the procedure is key. At Ormond Beach Periodontics, we have extensive experience with diagnostic technology and bone grafting procedures both of which are done as part of our specialized in-house process. As a result, we’re equipped with all the necessary tools to help make your dental implant procedure a success. Dental implants are not a one size fits all procedure, so we take our time to develop a unique treatment plan for each and every patient.
Our award-winning practice is led by Dr. Stuart Beauchamp, one of the top-rated periodontists in all of Central Florida. The recognition we receive is largely due to our track record for great results and the emphasis we place on patient comfort. Our entire team is dedicated to making every patient feel at ease from the moment you step in the door.
If you’re considering dental implants in Central Florida, get in touch with us at Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today.