A dental implant is a long-term solution for a missing tooth. It requires a metal peg or post, usually made of titanium, to be surgically positioned into the jawbone. The dental implant is fused into the jawbone to make it stable. The jawbone must be strong and dense, otherwise the stability of the implant could be compromised.
When a tooth is missing for a long time, the jawbone begins to erode slowly because it has nothing to support it anymore. The absence of the tooth creates a hollow basin in the jawbone. A dental implant placed in a spot with gum tissue levels lower than the surrounding areas will look like a long tooth.
A periodontist can address the problem by performing a bone graft after a tooth falls out or is extracted. With the graft, human bone granules are packed into the vacant tooth socket. A collagen membrane is placed over the granules, and the gums are closed with stitches. Within a period of a few weeks, the person’s own bones will fill the socket, preserving the bone height in preparation for the dental implant.
Extensive bone grafting will be needed when the teeth have been missing for a long time and the jawbone and gum lines have sunk lower than the surrounding areas. The patient will have experienced advanced bone loss by this time.
Extensive bone grafts use a combination of demineralized and sterile human bone granules and the patient’s own bones taken from the jaw, hip, or tibia. The bone block taken from other parts of the patient’s body will be anchored in place by specialized bone screws or plates. Bone granules are used to enhance the graft.