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What General Dentists Need to Know About Bone Grafting

As a periodontist, Dr. Pamela Ray treats a lot of patients who have what she describes as ailing or failing implants. In most of these situations, the dentist who provided the treatment had good intentions, but just didn’t have the training or skill necessary to deliver a successful case.

As more general practitioners (GPs) begin to place implants, it’s important they receive the proper education as well as support from dentists with experience in this area. That’s why Dr. Ray decided to team up with Dr. David Little, OsteoReady’s Clinical Director, for a bone grafting webinar set for June 27. She’s worked with Dr. Little for 30 years and is also the Clinical Director for BaseBone, the bone grafting material for implant site development and socket preservation that will be featured in the webinar as one of OsteoReady’s partners. 

“A lot of times implant companies just talk about implants and bone grafting companies just talk about bone grafting,” Dr. Ray said. “We’re providing general dentists with education on how to integrate the two in a simplified, easy-to-use method. Our goal is to make the workflow of this kind of therapy seamless for the general dentist.”

During the webinar, which is part of OsteoReady’s virtual study club, Dr. Ray will focus on soft tissue management and the flap versus flapless technique used for atraumatic extractions, while Dr. Little will focus on bone health.

“The one thing we know more about now than we did 15 or 20 years ago is you can’t ignore the soft tissue when it comes to healthy dental implants,” Dr. Ray said. “You can’t be traumatic if you want to do an immediate implant. You need to learn atraumatic extraction techniques and you need to know the criteria for when it’s appropriate to do these types of immediate placements and when it’s more appropriate to say let’s slow down and take a minute to prepare the site so the implant will have long-term success.”

Bone grafting

To successfully place implants in your practice, you must be comfortable with bone grafting, Dr. Little said, as it’s a critical part of the process that prevents bone resorption. If you don’t place bone grafting material in the extraction site, statistics say you’ll end up with 25 percent shrinkage in the first year.

The simplest technique is socket grafting, Dr. Little said. There are also situations where you might need to shave the implant to add bone around the site, especially if you’re working on an immediate implant case after an extraction. Those areas need filled with bone grafting material. Bone grafting also can be used to augment the ridge when there’s not enough bone to place an implant.

“As general dentists, we do a lot of extractions,” Dr. Little said. “If we can place a bone graft to prevent bone loss, it not only helps the site but also the adjacent teeth. It allows us to put an implant in healthy bone, which leads to better outcomes for our patients and good periodontal health.”

Benefits to the patient and the profession

These days, most patients know about implant dentistry and what it can do for their smile. Many are willing to invest in this treatment, but in return expect a pain-free procedure that gives them the results they’re after. Bone grafting enables GPs to offer the implant services patients want and the outcomes they envision—and that makes them happy with their experience at your practice.

“As you start to place more and more implants, you realize you need bone grafting to enhance your surgical technique and to offer more services to your patients,” Dr. Little said. “If you have a patient who really wants an implant but doesn’t have enough bone, bone grafting makes this treatment possible. If a patient has a tooth that needs immediate extraction, the tooth can be removed, the bone graft placed and the provisional restoration placed, all at the same time.”

Learning these techniques also enables GPs to offer many implant services in-house—adding another profit center to the practice and making it possible for patients to receive the treatment they want without having to go to a specialist.

Why OsteoReady and BaseBone

OsteoReady and BaseBone bone grafting material are both easy for GPs to use and provide excellent results. The cost-effective OsteoReady system is designed with GPs in mind. The simplified solution comes with one prosthetic platform, reducing the amount of inventory clinicians must have on hand for implant cases. The system’s MultiDrill Procedure reduces the number of drills required to prepare an implant site, saving time, while the company offers the education and support GPs need to learn implant dentistry and advance their skills.  

The team at OsteoReady decided to partner with BaseBone because of the material’s easy handling and optimal characteristics. The advanced mineralized freeze-dried bone allograft is sterilized using a supercritical CO₂ washing procedure and a low-dose e-beam irradiation that inactivates pathogenic microorganisms, meaning the bone can be prepped with fewer chemicals and heat.

“It’s a high-quality product from a biological standpoint but it’s also very cost effective,” Dr. Ray said. “This enables GPs to keep their fees lower, allowing more patients to gain access to the care they need.”

Other educational opportunities

Beyond the webinar, OsteoReady also offers a course that focuses on bone grafting, Dr. Little said. The course, “Immediate Placement and Ridge Preservation,” is popular among GPs, with the most recent one-day classes selling out. Students learn how to extract teeth atraumatically, how to place an implant and bone graft around it, as well as the bone grafting procedure in general, including flap design suturing and membranes. Like many OsteoReady classes, the course features multiple live patient surgery demonstrations. 

Dentists can implement what they learn in the course immediately, helping them grow the implant portion of their practice while also enabling them to provide patients with the best care possible. 

“Being able to offer more services to your patients allows them to get better care without having to go to a specialist. You can do it all in one office,” Dr. Little said. “There are still cases you’ll need to refer to specialists, but being able to keep most cases in-house benefits your patients as well as your practice.”

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