What is a bone graft? Having a bone graft is a much better option than other types of dental implants because it looks and functions like a real tooth and the jaw bone will eventually grow new, natural bone in the place of the implant. Having a bone graft procedure is a very practical option if you have lost any teeth. There are many reasons for a person to lose a tooth: gum disease, decay, injury, etc. Whatever the cause, when a tooth is extracted, the jaw bone underneath begins to deteriorate immediately, because the jaw bone only exists because there are teeth present. When any teeth are removed, the bone becomes weaker. So the best time to have a bone graft is immediately after the tooth comes out. The grafted bone may come from the patient’s own bone, or from other materials, known as bone substitutes, which behave and grow like real bones. In the procedure, your dentist will use your bone graft or the bone substitutes and graft it into your existing jaw bone. Then the bone will need time to be able to create new, stronger bone around the graft. This ensures that the implant has a stable foundation to be integrated to. This process will likely take several months. After the bone has had time to grow, a metal cylinder is added onto the jaw bone, acting like the root. Then an abutment is screwed onto the cylinder as a tooth base, and finally, a crown is put on top of the abutment, to look like a real tooth. Call or visit us at Aspen Dental for more information on bone grafts.