Implant success and bone grafts

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    What is a bone graft

    When teeth are removed or lost, the bone that supported those teeth begins to atrophy (absorb away). Left untreated, this deterioration can compromise the integrity of the upper and lower jaw. If this occurs, missing bone can be restored with a bone graft.

    A bone graft is a small procedure, where a small piece of bone is obtained, usually from the back of the lower jaw, which is then placed in an area where bone is missing. The intention is to create a better foundation for dentures or dental implants.

    Some facts about bone grafts

    To test whether there is a difference in success rates between implants placed in “native” bone (the patient’s original bone) or grafted bone, researchers at the University of Texas reviewed 1,222 patients receiving 2,729 implants between 1985 and 2012. They concluded there was no difference in the dental implant survival rates when implants were placed in native bone or bone-grafted sites.

    However, they identified two crucial factors that did contribute to long term implant loss. The first was cigarette smoking and the second was lack of professional maintenance.

    Implants require good maintenance for long term success. This involves regular checks by the patient’s dentist to ensure good oral hygiene, and to check at least annually for development of pockets and early bone loss around implants.

    What is the difference between native and grafted bone?

    Native bone is the original bone in any part of the body. Whereas grafted bone comes from a source elsewhere in the body, such as the back of the lower jaw for example, to be placed elsewhere.

    Why get the graft?

    The purpose is to create a sufficient foundation for dental implants.

    Want to find out more?

    If you would like to know more about bone grafts or to discuss your eligibility, contact Dr Ferguson on (03) 9898 1877.

    Tran DT, Gay IC, Diaz-Rodriguez J, Parthsarasay K, Westman R, Friedman L. Survival of dental implants placed in grafted and non-grafted bone: a retrospective study in a University setting. International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants. 2016, 31:310-7.