I had heard of a buccal bone until I told my dentist that I was thinking about getting implants for my denture. My dentist is doing a treatment plan for my dentures and implants. I cannot afford implants right now, so we are doing the work in phases. Although I trust my dentist, I am concerned that he might be adding services that I do not need. My dentist says my buccal bone is thin, and I might need a bone graft before I get implants. Does what my dentist is saying my sense? And how do I know if my buccal bone is thin? – Thank you. Janae T. from Nebraska
Thank you for your question.
What Is the Buccal Bone?
The buccal bone is a component of the bone structure that contains tooth sockets and supports your teeth. Healthy bone fits snugly around tooth roots and must do the same for dental implants.
How Does the Buccal Bone Affect Dental Implant Placement?
You will need enough jawbone volume to support dental implants. If your buccal bone plate is thin or weak, it will not support dental implants for the long term. Your dentist recommends a bone graft procedure to ensure your implants have enough bone to fuse with and remain stable.
It takes three to four months for a graft to heal before you can receive dental implants. Your dentist will factor that time into your treatment plan.
What If You Refuse a Bone Graft?
If you refuse a bone graft, your dentist or oral surgeon will likely refuse to place dental implants. And that’s because implants that lack bone volume can loosen or fail. Also, if irritation results in an infection, it threatens your oral health.
How to Know If Your Buccal Plate Is Thin
You can ask your dentist to show you 3-D x-rays of the bone and its thinness. And you can take or send your x-ray to a skilled implant dentist or oral surgeon to examine and give you a second opinion.
Dr. Jerome Cha, DDS of Tulsa, Oklahoma, sponsors this post.