Dental implants are the most state-of-the-art tooth replacement available today, as they are the only restoration that actually brings back an entire tooth from root to crown. However, in order for them to succeed, they need one important thing: a strong enough jawbone to support them. The jawbone actually starts to shrink and weaken after teeth go missing, so much so that it may not be able to safely hold a dental implant. This forces many patients to seek out less reliable alternatives. Fortunately, thanks to recent advancements in dentistry, it’s now possible to build up and strengthen the jawbone so any patient can safely get dental implants. How? Read on below to learn about some of the solutions your dentist has to offer.
This procedure involves taking bone from somewhere else in a patient’s body (almost always their chin or hip) and placing it on the jawbone right where an implant will be located. Over time, the new bone will basically bond with the jaw so it is stable enough to support a patient’s new teeth. This can also be completed using donated bone or a lab made grafting material.
Located right above your back upper teeth are your sinus cavities, and they are lined with a very thin and sensitive membrane. For patients hoping to replace their teeth in this area of the mouth, a sinus lift is used to make sure that their new roots don’t accidentally penetrate into the sinus membranes. A portion of a patient’s own bone or donated bone is placed on the jaw, and the sinus is slightly “lifted” to create enough room for the implants.
Just like its name indicates, a ridge expansion is a type of bone grafting procedure used to literally widen a certain area of the jawbone that may be too thin to support an implant as is. This is usually needed when replacing the front teeth because the jawbone is naturally much smaller in this area.
While it may be a mouthful, the way distraction osteogenesis actually works is quite simple. Essentially, its goal is to make an area of the jawbone taller. This is done by separating a piece of bone from the jaw, placing a small titanium device under it, and then reattaching it. The device is then slowly adjusted until a patient’s jaw is at the right height for implants.
Will You Actually Need Any of These Procedures?
If you’ve struggled with tooth loss for a long time and are interested in getting dental implants, then one of these procedures may be necessary to ensure the longevity of your new smile. To get a definitive answer, however, you should schedule a consultation with an implant dentist. They’ll examine your mouth and let you know if any of these treatments are necessary before you receive your implant roots. If it turns out that you do indeed need a bone graft, know that it’s just a first, essential step to your renewed oral health and confidence. With its help, you can trust your implants and fully restored smile will last for a lifetime to come.
About the Author
Dr. Robert Shick is an award-winning dentist based in Millburn, NJ. At his practice, Dental Charm, he uses custom-designed dental implants to help patients with any degree of tooth loss recover their smile and confidence at the same time. To learn more about dental implants and whether or not you’ll need a bone graft to get them, he can be contacted through his website.