Does a Dental Bone Graft Last Long Without an Implant?

Does a Dental Bone Graft Last Long Without an Implant?

April 1, 2023

When you’ve lost teeth, the jawbone gradually deteriorates due to a lack of chewing stimulation. Bone loss can cause your facial muscles to collapse, leading to facial sagging, wrinkles, and premature aging. It can also affect the nearby teeth and disqualify you from dental implants. In such a case, your dentist can recommend a bone graft procedure to repair and rebuild the deteriorated bone.

What is bone grafting?

Bone grafting is adding new bone material to a weakened jawbone to improve volume and density where bone loss has occurred. You can obtain the graft material from various sources, including:

  • Autografts from your own body
  • Allografts from a human donor
  • Xenografts from animal tissues
  • Alloplasts, which are synthetic

Based on your condition and needs, your dentist can recommend any of the four types of bone graft procedures:

  • Socket or ridge preservation is placed immediately after tooth removal to prevent the socket from caving in.
  • Ridge augmentation rebuilds a weakened jawbone due to tooth loss to provide sufficient support for dental restorations.
  • Sinus lift surgery raises the sinus and provides a solid foundation for dental implants: The sinuses can drop if you lose your upper back teeth.
  • A periodontal bone graft repairs bone loss due to advanced periodontal disease. It helps stabilize teeth and provides additional support for dental restorations.

Do You Need a Bone Graft?

You may need bone grafting if you’ve suffered substantial bone loss. Common instances when bone grafting is necessary include:

  • When rebuilding the jawbone before getting dentures or dental implants
  • After severe jaw trauma or injury
  • Repairing damaged bone due to advanced gum or periodontal disease

In most cases, you may need a bone graft. Your dentist will notice you’ve bone loss and recommend a bone graft.

Bone Graft Surgery: What to Expect

The dentist will begin by numbing you with a local anesthetic to prevent pain and discomfort during the treatment. Then, they will make a small incision in the gum tissue to access the underlying bone. The gums move back to make the bone visible.

Next, the dentist cleans and disinfects the area to prevent infections. The bone grafting material is then placed on the jawbone to repair the damage. The dentist usually covers the bone graft with a membrane for additional protection. Lastly, the gum tissue is positioned back and stitched for quick healing. The dentist may place gauze around the incision to control bleeding.

After the treatment, the anesthetic may take a while to wear off. You may experience normal side effects like pain, swelling, and minor bleeding when it does. Fortunately, your dentist will give you medication and tips to manage these symptoms and promote faster healing.

A few aftercare tips to keep in mind include:

  • Take medication as directed by the dentist.
  • Rest adequately for a few hours.
  • Keep your head elevated to prevent blood from pooling at the site.
  • Apply ice packs or cold compress to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Eat a soft and cool diet. Avoid hard, chewy, crunchy, or hot items, as they irritate or disturb the graft, causing delayed healing or infections.

You will probably feel better within a week or two. Complete bone graft healing takes about 3 – 6 months. The period may be shorter or longer based on your condition and the type of graft used. Your dentist will schedule routine follow-up appointments to check on your healing progress.

How long does a bone graft last without an implant?

Generally, a bone graft permanently fuses with your natural jawbone. It can last forever. However, if an implant doesn’t replace a tooth, the new bone density will deteriorate gradually due to a lack of chewing stimulation. You can expect significant jawbone loss within the first 12 months. Then, the jawbone will continue to resorb gradually at a decreased rate.

Placing a dental implant when the bone graft heals is the only way to prevent jawbone loss. Since dental implants act like your natural teeth roots, they stimulate the jawbone when chewing, preventing resorption. Unfortunately, alternative tooth replacement treatments like traditional dentures and bridges don’t preserve your jawbone health since they don’t have roots (except for implant-supported bridges and dentures).

Are You Interested in a Dental Bone Graft in Philadelphia, PA?

Do you need more information about bone grafts for dental implants? Contact Elegance in Dentistry to book your appointment today.

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