When teeth are missing, your body resorbs the bone that used to support those teeth. If you later want to replace those teeth with dental implants, you may need to have bone grafting performed.
For the patient, bone grafting can be expensive. But if you try to short-cut here, you will probably end up with dental implants that aren’t adequately supported and thus fail.
There are various sources that can be used for bone grafting. A popular source is the patient’s own hip. The hip is an excellent source of ample bone, easily accessible, and when it is used there are no issues with compatibility or communicable diseases being transferred from one patient to another. Many patients are uncomfortable with using cadaver bone or other sources.
The bone graft needs time to heal and to be knit together with your native jaw bone. Once it has healed, the dental implants can be placed. After implant placement, there is additional healing time usually required before the dental implant root forms can be reliably used to support teeth.
When there is general bone atrophy because of a patient missing all their natural teeth for a period of time, bone grafting is almost always needed. One attempt to avoid this extra step is to use the All on Four dental implants technique. While some dentists use this technique, it is a matter of some controversy in the profession. Some studies seem to indicate that there is a higher risk of failure with the All on Four technique, but dentists that use the technique deny that this is the case.
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This content was written by Dr. David Hall.