Hey Doc, my teeth have been missing for a while. Do I still have enough bone for dental implant?


“Hey Doc, my teeth have been missing for a while. Do I still have enough bone for dental implant? “

Bone Grafting for Dental Implant: Tooth Talk Series by Dr. Victor Sun

In many situations, dental implants are becoming the first choice of treatment for replacing missing teeth. They can be more desirable than the alternative options of partial dentures or bridges.

A dental implant is a titanium metal post inserted into the jaw bone and it supports a post onto which a crown(tooth) is placed. In order for a dental implant to work, it has to be “osseointegrated” within the bone so that it is strong enough to support the tooth and the chewing forces. Therefore, it is important to ensure that there is sufficient volume of bone around a dental implant as it is the bone that provides the dental implant its strength and stability.

Generally speaking, 1 1⁄2 mm to 2 mm of bone is desirable around a dental implant. In terms of bone height, there should be enough bone so that the implant is completely surrounded by bone and the implant is a safe distance(minimum 2mm) away from anatomic structures such as the nerve in the lower jaw.

One of the consequences of tooth loss is bone loss. After a tooth is removed, there is no more stimulation on the jaw bone surrounding that lost tooth from the chewing force. Subsequently, the jaw bone will shrink away.

Therefore, for those who have suffered tooth loss for a long time and want dental implant therapy, a great majority of them will require bone grafting procedures in order to build up the jaw bone for dental implant placement.

There are several types of bone graft material that can be used to rebuild the jaw bone:

-Autograft: bone from the patient’s own body, usually taken from the chin or from the back of upper or lower jaw near the wisdom teeth. If substantial amount of bone is needed, the surgeon can harvest the bone from the patient’s hip, shin, rib, skull, etc.

-Allograft: bone from a genetically similar organism. Human cadaver bone from the bone bank falls in this category.

-Xenograft: bone from a genetically dissimilar organism. Bovine (cow) bone is a typical example of xenograft.

-Synthetic bone graft: man-made synthetic biocompatible material. Hydroxyapatite or tricalcium phosphate are examples of synthetic bone graft material.

-Growth factors: they are produced using DNA technology. They consist of either human growth factors or bone morphogenic protein-2 (BMP-2). They stimulate certain body cells to turn into bone. They can be used alone, such as BMP-2, or in conjunction with other bone graft material, to grow bone.

Generally speaking, it takes about 6 to 9 months for a bone graft to mature. The amount of time for the graft to heal depends on the type of grafting material used, the size of the bone defect, etc. The best time to place the implant is when the bone graft has become solid where there is sufficient healing but before it starts to shrink or resorb.

The success rate for bone grafting in the jaws is quite high. However, there is always the possibility that the bone graft can fail, even with using the patient’s own bone. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, increase the risk of bone graft failure. Smoking compromises healing and can lead to higher failure rate. If the bone graft fails, it can be removed and a second graft can be placed in most situations.

For more information on the benefits of bone grafting and dental implants, and how you can take the first step towards achieving your newly stable smile, contact Dr. Victor Sun, DDS, at your earliest convenience. We can’t wait to meet you!

Click here to request an appointment – 


Dr. Victor Sun is a family dentist with expertise in cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics and implantology.  Serving Omemee, Fenelon Falls, Little Britain, Downeyville, Dunsford, Bobcaygeon, Port Perry, Perborough and surrounding communities. Check out a few of our great reviews below:


★★★★★review from Yelp: “This is the best dentist I have ever had. I have lived all over Canada. I spent 17 years living in Europe and the middle east. I now live in Vancouver, BC. If possible I would have put Dr.Victor Sun in my suitcase. He is kind, gentle and most important, he care about his patients. Since moving to Vancouver, I have tried many dentist. No one can compare to him. He is up to date on the latest procedures. He does EXCELLENT WORK. If I won the LOTTO, I would fly out to see him twice a year. My teeth are important to me. He made me feel like he actually cared. Also he has the nicest recepetionists that I have come across in many years. I want to thank-you all for being so professional in what you do. It shows..”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s