Implants and Bone Grafting
Implants are one of the best options to fill the gap left by a missing tooth. However, to be successful, your bone needs to be strong enough to hold the implant. In the case your jawbone is too weak, your dentist can solve the problem with bone grafting.
What Is an Implant?
To understand why bone grafting may be necessary, you need to first understand exactly what an implant is. The implant itself is a metal post. Once the dentist has inserted it into your jaw, he or she can attach an abutment, which appears and functions just like a tooth. Your jawbone needs to be strong enough to hold the implant in position. If the bone is too thin or soft, you will first need bone grafting.
Bone Grafting Procedure
In the past, bone grafting was achieved by taking part of the bone from another place in your body. Now, it is more common to use a special material like bone. In either case, your dentist will add the graft to your jawbone and wait for the graft to create new bone. It usually takes several months for the bone to grow strong enough to support the implant, but minor grafts can take place at the same time as the implant.
Taking Care of Your Implant
After bone grafting, you will want to make sure your implant lasts as long as possible, to maintain your smile. Most important is to follow good oral hygiene practices, receiving regular dental checkups and brushing twice a day. Using an interdental toothbrush will help you reach between the implant and your natural teeth. You should also avoid chewing hard foods with your implant. Finally, it is a good idea to quit smoking. This will keep your bones strong and prevent the implant from becoming loose.