When teeth are lost due to injury, periodontal disease or decay, the jawbone will no longer be stimulated and can begin to weaken. The deterioration of the surrounding bone may also occur as a result. Once enough bone tissue has worn away the area may no longer have enough strength to support a dental implant. In these cases, Dr. Toms may recommend a bone graft to ensure sufficient support for your future implant.

Bone grafts require bone to either be removed from other parts of your body or from a donor in order to fill the area needed in the mouth. There are four different types of bone grafts that are distinguished by where the bone originates from. Autogenous bone grafts use bone from another part of your mouth, typically the chin. An allograft uses bone tissue from another human donor. A xenograft will use bone from another species, usually a bovine (cattle) source. An alloplastic graft will use synthetic materials instead of natural bone.

In any case, the bone or synthetic material is collected from the chosen source and then carefully placed in your jaw with titanium screws. Once the graft material has been carefully attached, the gum tissue is stitched back into place over it and everything is given time to heal. Healing can take between six and nine months, during which time it may be recommended to follow a soft food diet to aid healing. Full healing will need to occur before a dental implant procedure can begin.

Not every patient who needs an implant will need a bone graft. Dr. Toms will review your individual situation to evaluate whether you have enough bone to hold an implant properly.

If there is not enough substance in your bone, or if it is too narrow or soft, a dental implant cannot be placed. Jawbones must be strong in order to handle the pressure from biting and chewing. The pressure on teeth is transferred to the jaw. If the bone is too weak, the implant can loosen or fall out.

That is why it is essential to make sure the bone is sufficient before an implant procedure. Dr. Toms will let you know if you need a graft or if your bone is strong enough to handle the implant.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Toms, call our office today at (513) 253-0855.