teeth replacement San Jose, California

Teeth Replacement with Dental Implants: Is Bone Grafting Required?

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If you’re planning on visiting a San Jose dentist to discuss teeth replacement with dental implants, you can expect bone grafting to be a consideration. The step may not be a must for everyone in California, but dental bone grafts are quite common – and a graft might be essential for the long-term success of your newly restored smile.

The idea of getting a jawbone graft may sound a bit scary, but don’t let that derail your teeth replacement plans. Here at The Glen Dental, bone graft placement is a simple, minimally invasive procedure that we perform at our San Jose dentist office on a daily basis. And, we provide pain-free sedation dentistry to keep patients relaxed and comfortable.

Still a little worried? Learning more about bone grafting for dental implants might help put your mind at ease. Discussing the matter with your dentist is best, but the following guide should help address some of your concerns.

What Is Bone Grafting?

When referring to teeth replacement, bone grafting is a surgical procedure involving the addition of bone tissue to the jaw in areas that have lost density or volume.

Jawbone grafts are necessary when the bone has degenerated – which is inevitable when teeth are missing. The alveolar bone, the part of the jaw that keeps teeth in the mouth, needs stimulation to remain healthy and strong. The roots of your natural teeth provide this when you bite and chew, but with gaps in your smile, there are areas where this stimulation is gone. In cases of significant degeneration, the jawbone is too weak to support dental implants.

Bone grafting offers a solution to this problem. Once placed, the graft material fuses with the natural bone, encouraging new growth and creating a stable foundation for dental implants. With the density, height and width of the jaw restored, the stage is set for success with permanent teeth replacement.

The Bone Grafting Process

With an experienced San Jose dentist, the jawbone graft procedure is simple and relatively quick. Other than the initial consultation, the process typically involves just a few steps:

  • The dentist administers local anesthetic and, in many cases, mild conscious sedation, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or intravenous (IV) sedation to meet the patient’s needs.
  • When the anesthesia has taken effect, the dentist makes a small incision in the gums in the area where the jawbone has degenerated. Then, the graft material is put in place.
  • The next step to teeth replacement, insertion of the dental implant post, may come next. More often, however, the dentist sutures the surgical site. To protect the area and provide support, a membrane may also be placed.

Recovery from bone grafting is similar to that for a tooth extraction – which, if you’re unfamiliar, generally involves just a day or two of mild swelling and minor discomfort. The newly added tissue can take six to nine months to fully fuse to the jawbone, but this process doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms.

Types of Grafts for Dental Implants

For San Jose patients interested in permanent teeth replacement, dentists consider a few different sources for graft material. The bone tissue used to augment the jawbone may be one of the following:

  • An autograft, or living tissue that has been harvested from the roof of the mouth or palate of the patient
  • An allograft, or human bone from a donor, sourced from a tissue bank and verified as safe for use
  • A xenograft, or biocompatible graft material derived from either bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) bone
  • An alloplast, or synthetic bone substitute made from a blend of surgical-grade resins and minerals

When bone grafting is done for the purpose of teeth replacement with dental implants, dentists may recommend certain types of graft materials over others. However, the patient’s needs and preferences are important, and at The Glen Dental, we always welcome patient input.

Will You Need Bone Grafting to Get Dental Implants?

As we mentioned, grafting is commonly done in preparation for teeth replacement. But, not everyone in San Jose needs the procedure – and if you don’t have a significant amount of jawbone degeneration, your dentist may go ahead with dental implant placement.

To find out if you’ll be able to skip bone grafting, you’ll need diagnostic imaging. Panoramic x-rays or 3D scans can reveal if your jaw has sufficient density for same-day dental implants. If your dentist determines that the bone needs to be augmented before moving forward with teeth replacement, you’ll have a say in what graft material is used,  An autograft is usually recommended for its superior regenerative properties, but if you prefer another option, don’t hesitate to speak up –  your comfort is of the utmost importance.

Are you ready for teeth replacement? For expert care in the San Francisco Bay area, turn to The Glen Dental. Our highly skilled dentists have decades of experience successfully performing bone graft procedures, and we’re the region’s leading dental implant specialists. For more information, or to schedule a consultation to discuss bone grafting and teeth replacement with our professional team, contact our office in San Jose, California, today.

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