Implant success and bone grafts

What is a bone graft

When teeth are removed or lost, the bone that supported those teeth begins to atrophy. 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 retrieved, 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 to be secured into.

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?

Native bone material comes from the patient themselves, from the back of the jaw for example. Whereas grafted bone comes from an external source such as bovine or synthetic bone. While the difference in source doesn’t affect the success of the procedure, there may be a difference in price as natively sourced bone may require a surgical procedure to retrieve adequate material.

Why get the graft?

Creating a foundation for dental implants, can reduce further deterioration of the bone, as well as to have dentures or dental implants replace missing teeth. This can in turn repair self-confidence as well as improve eating and talking.

If you would like to know more or to find out if you are an ideal candidate, 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.