Dental implants and bone grafts: How long will it take for bone growth?

How long does it take to grow jaw bone?

Sometimes, in order to ensure successful dental implants, it’s necessary to have bone grafts. These grafts provide additional foundation for the implants so they will remain stationary in the mouth and function just like your normal teeth. Bone grafts take a few weeks to heal before the implants can be placed.

What are bone grafts?

If you have lost teeth, over time your jawbone will atrophy. This is because the roots of the teeth stimulate the bone to regenerate. With the roots gone, the body reclaims the minerals in the bone tissue. Over time, the jawbone becomes weaker and thinner. If this process has gone on for a long time, there might not be enough bone left in the jaw to support an implant.

Bone grafting is used to shore up the jawbone after atrophy has occurred. The bone can be harvested from another part of your body, or it can come from a donated source. The existing jawbone bonds to the graft, integrating it into your bone structure and eventually replacing the grafted bone with new bone tissue. Once the graft has completely healed, you can have your implants placed. This usually takes a few weeks.

How do I know if I need a bone graft?

Before you decide on dental implants, you and your implant dentist will evaluate your suitability for the procedure. He will use X-rays to determine how much bone is present in your jaw, and whether or not you will need bone grafting or a sinus lift. A sinus lift is a bone grafting procedure that adds bone to the upper jaw, and requires movement of the lining of the sinuses to make room for the graft.

After the graft is placed, your implant dentist will monitor the healing process. If the graft is unsuccessful, your dentist will decide whether or not it makes sense to have another grafting procedure. Failure of the graft might make it impossible to continue with the placement of implants.