Do I Have Enough Jawbone For Dental Implants?


Before the surgical placement of dental implants, we need to establish enough bone to sink the implant into. Depending on the number and type of implants, this may mean that we need to perform a bone graft procedure before surgery. Working with our staff at Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery we can discuss treatment options and review your bone density. By taking the correct preparatory steps, we can help you have a permanent tooth replacement.

Sufficient Bone


A common problem in patients who have experienced tooth loss is the reduction of bone mass in their jaw. Bone remains healthy and robust when it has not been affected by disease and through being used frequently. Patients who have suffered from uncontrolled gum disease or have lost teeth will need help in restoring the health and bulk of their jawbone.

For many patients, tooth loss is preceded by chronic periodontal disease, which is a severe form of gum disease. Periodontal disease is an active bacterial infection that decays teeth, damages tissue and then destroys bone if left untreated. Additionally, the gum tissue will recede from the teeth to move away from the bacteria, and once the bone it attacked, there is little to support the tooth, it will come loose and fall out.

Besides bone loss from periodontitis, bone can also be lost due to atrophy. Following the loss of a tooth, the bone responds with immediate and continual atrophy, which is the shrinkage of the bone. This is because the bone is no longer being exercised, and like all bone, the jaw requires exercise to stay healthy.

A dental implant requires sufficient bone to grab hold of to be firmly set in place. We can re-establish that bone with a bone graft.

Dental Bone Graft Procedure


A dental bone graft procedure is performed in our office. It is generally done in less than one hour with very little discomfort.

We begin by ensuring our patient’s comfort, this is often accomplished with a simple local anesthetic, but there are conscious sedation options available when needed including nitrous oxide or laughing gas.

We make an incision into the tissue, exposing the bone. We place bone material into the bone. The bone material may come from the patient’s chin or another bone area, or we may be able to use donated bone material or synthetic bone material. The tissue is then closed with sutures, and the patient is sent home for a period of healing. While healing, the bone should grow, bulking up the available bone, strengthening it for a dental implant.

Healing from a Bone Graft


The soft tissue inside your mouth where the bone graft was performed will take only a matter of days to heal; bone takes longer. The healing time following a bone graft can take several months. That’s because we are looking for more than healing, we are looking for growth. The bone graft will induce a response in your bone to grow and reverse the damage or atrophy that had occurred. This can take several months; we will review the healing and growing process during your appointments. Once sufficient bone is available, we can then schedule your implant procedure.

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