Dental implants carry an exemplary success rate as a stable, long-term replacement for missing teeth. However, you cannot expect your implant to provide this coveted stability if it does not have a firm foundation underneath. Implants are surgically placed in the jawbone. The implant post needs to be fully enveloped so that it can fuse to the surrounding bone as it heals and forms a stable prosthetic tooth root. If bone is too thin, too weak or too short within the jaw, an implant has little to no chance of success.
Thanks to bone grafting, insufficient bone does not always disqualify you from getting dental implants. However, it does mean you’ll need an extra procedure before your implants can be placed. Bone grafting can involve your own bone (from your hip or other area of your jaw) or an artificial bone. The procedure is simple and essentially builds up and repairs the damaged or lost bone needed to support a dental implant. Bone grafting replaces lost bone as well as stimulates new bone growth. In cases where only minor bone is needed, bone grafting may be performed at the same time as your implant surgery. Many patients, however, need to wait until the grafting site has fully healed before embarking on the implant process.
Here are three common reasons why a patient may be told they have inadequate bone and thus need a bone grafting procedure before dental implants.
#1 Tooth Loss – When there is no tooth root to stimulate the jaw, the bone will begin to atrophy or resorb over time. In fact, once a tooth is lost, 25% of bone width is reduced within the first year! Getting a dental implant is the only way to prevent bone loss caused by missing teeth.
#2 Gum Disease – If left untreated, periodontal disease can advance enough to cause destruction of the jawbone and periodontal ligament due to the presence of bacteria and widespread infection.
#3 Dental Trauma – A sudden trauma or accidental injury involving the mouth can result in tooth loss and jawbone damage. The trauma can also happen over time, such as when a patient has a persistent habit of grinding or clenching their teeth. The constant pressure can strain the teeth and jaw enough to cause fracture and/or weakening.
At the office of Dr. Wayne Suway, we routinely perform bone grafting procedures that make it possible for patients to get dental implants. If you have been told you have bone loss or insufficient bone to support a dental implant, please call our Marietta office. Modern dentistry offers many ways to qualify patients for the remarkable and life-changing benefits of implant dentistry!