How Bone Grafting Supports a Dental Implant

How Bone Grafting Supports a Dental Implant

Your teeth are incredible examples of natural engineering. Each tooth is anchored in your jawbone by its roots, which stimulate the bone and keep it healthy. If you lose a tooth and wait too long before asking for a dental implant, you may find that the bone under the empty socket is missing, fragile, or simply insufficient to hold an implant. That's when you need a bone graft. 

At the dental practice of Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili in Fairfax, Virginia, we work with you through the process of receiving dental implants, including referring you to a bone graft specialist and an implantologist. Once your implants are placed, we’ll complete your restoration in our office. 

What causes jawbone loss 

The part of your tooth that sits above the gumline is only a small fraction of its mass. The majority of your tooth lies below the gumline, and the roots reach into your jawbone, anchoring themselves securely. 

As you bite, chew, and grind your teeth, the root stimulates the surrounding bone tissue. This encourages blood flow to the socket and maintains bone density, keeping the bone alive and healthy. 

When a tooth is knocked out or extracted, the jawbone stops receiving that stimulation. This can cause the bone tissue to slowly deteriorate, leaving a larger socket and even destabilizing other teeth. 

The only way to solve this is to implant a new tooth. While bridges and dentures can help you speak and chew, only an implant can replace your tooth’s root and prevent further bone loss and weakness. 

If you were unable to receive dental implant surgery when you initially lost your tooth, you may have lost too much bone tissue to proceed with an implant now without receiving a bone graft first.  

How bone grafting supports dental implants

Implants are typically made of titanium, which is generally biocompatible and won’t be rejected by your body. What implants do demand is a solid foundation of bone to connect with. Here’s why:

The dental implant process

When the implant is placed, your implantologist drills a hole into your jawbone at the bottom of the empty socket, and fits the implant tightly in the hole. The bottom part of the implant is less like a peg and more like a screw. Over time, healthy bone will grow into the threads of the screw (osseointegration), stabilizing the implant so it can serve as a substitute root for your new tooth.

The complication of bone loss

If you don’t have enough healthy bone in the right place to support an implant, your dentist can’t drill into it, much less place an implant and expect osseointegration to occur. In such cases, we can recommend a dental bone graft.

There are four types of bone graft material:

Your surgeon will graft the replacement bone material into your jaw under the empty socket, and close the gum tissue over it.  The bone graft will osseointegrate with your remaining jawbone, and after a few months or a year you should be able to have your dental implant placed.

To learn more and discuss whether a bone graft is necessary for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Yalamanchili by calling 703-213-5312, or by booking an appointment online.

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