If there has been extensive bone loss after a tooth has been removed there may not be enough bone to support a dental implant.
This may happen if a patient waits a long time between tooth extraction and implant placement.
It may be necessary to create new bone to support the dental implant and restore the natural appearance of the tooth and gum surrounding the implant.
In some cases the bone grafting can be done at the same time as placing the dental implant. In more severe cases of bone loss the bone graft may be done before the dental implant is placed.
There are many techniques for creating new bone. However it normally involves taking a small amount of bone from other areas of the mouth such as the wisdom tooth area and placing it where new bone is needed. The area from which the bone is taken re-grows naturally and the bone graft heals into the area that it has been placed. Nowadays this is a common and predictable procedure.
The all-on-4 technique often avoids the need for bone grafting when providing a patient with a full set of new teeth.
Gum grafting is used to repair lost areas of gum known as gum recession. Gum recession can cause teeth to look longer and cause sensitivity.
During a gum graft procedure, small areas of gum tissue are taken from other areas of the mouth and carefully transplanted into the areas where gum is missing. Alternatively a synthetic gum material called Alloderm can be used to repair and strengthen damaged gums.
Gum grafting is sometimes needed around implants to give a better cosmetic result.