There is so much information in the media and on the Internet about bone grafting in conjunction with dental implants that it can be somewhat confusing for patients. The truth is that bone grafting procedures are often recommended in order to achieve the desired functional and aesthetic results, particularly in the front of the mouth.
Long-term scientific and clinical studies by the leaders in implant dentistry show that in most cases, aesthetics in the front of the mouth can be greatly enhanced with bone grafting. Bone grafting is recommended when bone resorption, or deterioration, has occurred following the loss or removal of front teeth. When the bone is thin, such as the bone beneath the gum tissue above the upper front teeth, it resorbs much quicker than denser bone, leading to a collapse of the lips and facial profile. Fortunately, for those patients who have lost bone, it is possible to increase or replace the bone with grafting techniques to ensure successful placement of dental implants. In addition, any defects in the bone in the front of the mouth can be corrected with bone grafting be to create the most favorable facial contours and tissue support possible in order to achieve optimal aesthetic results.
While some people question the safety of bone grafting, past clinical and scientific studies, coupled with advances in technology, show that the bone grafting materials has been thoroughly tested and are perfectly safe in the hands of an experienced surgeon. If small defects are present in the desired implant location, processed bone grafts from human or animal sources, the patient’s own bone or synthetic bone can be used to fill in the defects. Since gum tissue grows faster than bone, it can invade the bone graft and hinder regeneration. A thin (collagen) membrane is often used to protect the bone graft and ensure regeneration of the bone. Depending on the patient’s anatomy, the bone graft can be accomplished at the same time as the implant placement.
There are a few dental implant treatment options where bone grafting is not recommended. One of them is “All-on-4” implants and it is designed for people who have lost all of their teeth in one or both jaws. It is being heavily advertised nationwide by a chain of implant centers, creating the misconception that bone grafting is an unnecessary procedure. However, most experienced specialists concur that bone grafting can enhance the final aesthetic and functional results in many situations and therefore, is a procedure that is often recommended to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes for patients.