August 16, 2023

Dental Bone Graft: What Is It and When Is It Needed?

Tooth loss can occur for a variety of reasons: advanced gum disease, injury and trauma, poor dental hygiene or even genetic conditions. In Australia, missing teeth is a common issue that increases with age, and 20% of Australians over the age of 75 have complete tooth loss. Common treatments include dentures, which are removable and need to be taken out before bed or for cleaning, and dental implants,  which are titanium screws attached to the jawbone and topped with natural-looking prosthetic teeth.

Traditional dental implants have their benefits. You can clean the prosthetics like regular teeth without having to remove them. You can eat the same foods you used to enjoy and show off a natural-looking and convincing smile. Yet one of their biggest drawbacks is that some patients’ jawbones lack sufficient density to support traditional implants, making a dental bone graft necessary.  A bone graft for dental implants increases the volume of bone in the patient’s jaw, so it’s strong enough for traditional dental implants to be placed securely.

Diminished bone quality has many potential causes. Between the ages of 25 and 50, most people have a stable bone density as bone forms at the same rate it breaks down. After 50, the resorption begins to happen at a faster rate than what the new formations can keep up with. Age, menopause, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency and low weight can all complicate dental implant surgery and potentially make dental bone grafting a necessity. With a dental bone graft, recovery from implant surgery takes longer, and the procedure itself tends to require more appointments.

What if there was a way to gain a new smile in just 24 hours with no need for dental bone grafts at all? Next Smile Australia specialises in the All-on-4® procedure, which makes this possible. This article explores the differences between All-on-4® and traditional dental implants and how All-on-4® eliminates the need for a dental bone graft.

What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a common surgical procedure that replaces missing bone with bone material from the patient’s own body or a substitute that’s either synthetic or natural. Bone’s natural ability to regenerate itself when provided with the space to do so is what makes bone grafting possible. As the bone regrows, the newly formed natural bone gradually overtakes the introduced material. Bone grafting has been a commonly practised medical treatment for centuries.

Like so many other forms of restorative dentistry, there’s more than one kind of dental bone graft. Bone grafting for traditional dental implants is often placed into two categories based on the style of material used. Autograft draws on material from the patient’s own body, often the hips, ribs, wrists or pelvis. Synthetic variants often come from materials like calcium sulphate and bioglass.

The process itself can also take different forms. Ridge augmentation involves placing bone material within the socket of the tooth and can require between six and nine months of recovery time. For a sinus lift procedure, which is for patients who need implants in their upper jaw, dental bone graft recovery can take about a year.

Dental bone graft recovery is often lengthy and drawn out, while the process itself requires multiple appointments and often considerable discomfort. Patients often have to schedule their dental bone grafting almost a year in advance before their implant surgery.

Dental bone grafts aren’t always necessary for everybody who is eligible for dental implants. Certain demographics are more likely to require one.

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When is Bone Grafting Recommended?

Your dental surgeon may recommend a dental bone graft before your dental implant surgery for one of the following reasons:

You’ve had one or more missing teeth for a long time

Using your teeth regularly helps keep your jawbone strong. When a tooth is removed and not replaced straight away, it leads to the jawbone deteriorating and growing brittle. Over time, this can cause more of your teeth to fall out. If you’ve had a missing tooth or several for several months or years, you may require a bone graft for dental implants.

You have gum disease

Severe periodontitis (gum disease) causes an infection in the supporting bone and leads to poorer jawbone quality.

You’ve suffered a jawbone injury

If you’ve had a broken jaw or another jawbone injury, you may need a bone graft for dental implants depending on how severe it was.

You have osteoporosis

If you have osteoporosis or another medical condition that reduces bone density, you may require bone grafts before you can proceed with dental implants. This is commonly seen in a lot of older women but can affect anyone regardless of age and gender.  

How All-on-4® Eliminates the Need for Bone Grafts

All-on-4® can provide you with a new, authentic-looking and functional smile in as little as 24 hours. The procedure is very similar to traditional dental implants but with significant differences. While traditional dental implants involve a screw inserted into the jawbone to replace the roots of each individual tooth, All-on-4® offers an entire “bridge” or arch of new teeth supported by just four implants: two at the front and two at the back on either the upper or lower jawbone avoiding thin or poor jawbone. While traditional dental implants can take months to complete, All-on-4® gives you a new smile on the day of your implant surgery. It has a 98% success rate and, with no dental bone graft recovery necessary, a shorter recovery time.

Dr Paulo Malo pioneered the procedure in 1998, and at Next Smile Australia, we follow his two-bridge treatment process: the Malo Protocol.

All-on-4® renders dental bone grafts unnecessary by targeting the implants at stronger areas of the jawbone. With only four implants, it’s easy to insert them in the areas where there’s enough jawbone mass and density to accommodate dental implants.

With no long recovery period that is normally required to get through with dental bone grafts, you can step out of our Super Clinic on the day of your implant surgery and start showing your new teeth off to the world.

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Find Out If You Are Suitable For All-on-4®

All-on-4® is a treatment that’s been proven effective time and time again. It can provide you with an all-new smile with no need for dental bone grafting.

Before committing to any restorative dental procedure, it’s important to find out if it’s right for you. If you only have one or two missing teeth, you’re better off with regular dental implants. But if you’ve lost all or most of your teeth due to illness, injury or trauma, you have advanced gum disease, or you can’t have your teeth restored by other means, there’s a strong chance that All-on-4® is the right kind of treatment for you.

The best way to find out for certain if you’re suitable for All-on-4® is to book a personal consultation with a member of the Next Smile Australia team.

If we assess you as being suitable for the treatment, we’ll take your goals and dental history into account as we create a personalised treatment plan for you – no dental bone grafts required. Your treatment will take place at one of our industry-leading Super Clinics, complete with in-house dental laboratories and state-of-the-art surgical rooms. Our in-house x-rays and CBCT scanners will mean our technicians can create custom-designed teeth built to fit your mouth and sculpted from the finest materials by our research partner Nobel Biocare.

To find out more about the All-on-4® treatment and book a personal consultation, contact Next Smile Australia