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Dental Implants and Bone Graft

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Dental implants are a popular solution for tooth replacement. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line. The titanium used is biocompatible and is not rejected by the body. The implant fuses with the jawbone, providing stable support for artificial teeth and preventing them from shifting in your mouth. This fusion process is known as osseointegration. (see more at )

However, for the dental implant to be successful, there must be sufficient bone in the jaw to support the implant. Unfortunately, due to factors such as periodontal disease, injury, or wearing dentures for a long time, some patients may not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants. In such situations, a bone graft, or bone transplant, is required.

A bone graft is a surgical procedure that involves transplanting bone tissue. In the context of dental implants, this would typically involve adding bone to your jaw. The bone used in a bone graft can come from your own body (autograft), from a cadaver (allograft), from an animal (xenograft), or it can be entirely synthetic (alloplast).

The goal of a bone graft is to facilitate bone regeneration. When the transplanted bone is put into place, it aids in regrowth, eventually providing a solid base for the dental implant. Over a period of a few months, the jawbone will fuse with the graft bone material to create a new, strong bone structure. Once the dentist confirms that the graft has created new, strong bone, the dental implant can then be inserted.

It’s important to mention that bone grafts are a common procedure and, while they add another step to the dental implant process, they significantly increase its success rate for patients who initially lack the necessary bone structure.

some number-based facts related to dental implants and bone grafts:

  1. 98% Success Rate: According to the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, dental implants have a success rate of about 98%.
  2. Lifetime Durability: Unlike other dental prosthetics, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime with proper care.
  3. Bone Loss Prevention: Dental implants stimulate natural bone growth, helping to prevent bone loss which is a common issue when missing teeth. In fact, studies suggest that within the first year of tooth loss, there’s a 25% decrease in bone width.
  4. 3-6 Months for Bone Graft Healing: It typically takes between three to six months for a bone graft to fully integrate with the jawbone before an implant can be placed.
  5. 5 Million Americans: The American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that around 5 million dental implants are placed in the U.S. each year.
  6. 15 Million People Worldwide: As per the International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants, approximately 15 million people worldwide have crowns or bridges supported by dental implants.
  7. Over 60% of Adults Aged 35 to 44: According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 69% of adults aged 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay.

These figures underscore the importance and prevalence of dental implants in modern dental care, and highlight the significant role bone grafts play in ensuring the success of these implants, particularly for patients with compromised bone structures.