What Happens When You Don’t Have Enough Bone for Dental Implants?

What Happens When You Don't Have Enough Bone for Dental Implants?

January 23, 2018  | IN DENTAL IMPLANTS

Dentistry has been around for centuries in one form or another. Evidence exists that even ancient Egyptians practiced oral hygiene and complex dentistry (fillings, bridges, and more). Dental practices like basic tooth drilling can be found as far back as 7,000 B.C.E. The only difference today is that we have more advanced medical facilities, equipment, materials, and techniques.

It wasn’t that long ago that losing teeth meant filling the gaps with dentures made from ivory, gold, and even lead. The story of George Washington’s wooden dentures is nothing more than an enduring myth, and it’s a good thing. Can you imagine the splinters?

These days, losing a tooth is not the end of the world. It can be unpleasant, but the good news is there are several options for replacement. In addition to dentures or bridgework, many people have the option to install dental implants, which consist of a titanium post that bonds to your jaw bone for strength and support, as well as a crown, or false tooth, that attaches to the post and looks and acts just like the natural tooth you lost.

Of course, there is a caveat. To be eligible for a dental implant, you must have good oral health, and you need to have adequate jaw bone to support the implant. What if you don’t have enough jaw bone? Are you stuck with dentures, or is there another option? Here’s what you need to know.

Tooth Loss and Bone Loss When you lose a tooth, the conditions that caused it could also affect your jaw bone. This is especially true if your tooth loss was due to decay or severe infection, for example. What’s worse, though, is that the gap left by a missing tooth can lead to deterioration of the portion of the jaw that once supported that tooth. If you’ve been missing a tooth for a while, your jaw may no longer be adequate to support an implant.

Unfortunately, it would help if you also started with a healthy mouth before considering the implant procedure. Suppose you’re dealing with an infection or abscess that has spread to the jaw or surrounding gum tissue. In that case, you’ll need to work with your dentist to clear it up before you get an implant, which could take weeks or months to accomplish, depending on the severity of your situation.

During this time, your jaw bone can weaken and deteriorate even further so that when you are free of infection and in good oral health, your jaw is no longer suitable for an implant. This can be extremely frustrating and disappointing.

Ideally, your mouth will be healthy when you lose a tooth so that you can start installing the implant immediately before any bone loss occurs. In reality,

you may have to wait for an implant. If, however, your bone is in good shape, you should be okay to get an implant within about six months of tooth loss.

Building Up the Bone Even if you don’t start as a good candidate for dental implants, you could take steps to become a good candidate. You can build up the bone through grafting if you don’t have enough jaw bone to support an implant.

This procedure involves taking your bone from other areas of the body where it isn’t needed and grafting it to your jaw bone to build enough volume to support an implant. Bone is most often taken from another part of the mouth, and it generally takes a minimum of about three months to fuse with the existing bone and become strong enough to support an implant.

Other procedures like sinus elevation/augmentation or ridge expansion may be necessary, depending on your situation. These could add several months of healing time to your treatment schedule before an implant is possible. No-bone treatment options are also under development, but bone grafts are the tried-and-true method for preparing deficient jaw bones to receive implants.

End Results For patients that lack sufficient jaw bone to support implants, grafting could provide a solution. It may not work for every patient, especially if severe trauma or infection affects the area. You should speak to your dentist about the possibility of implants to find out if you’re a good candidate or if augmentation of existing bone is an option to make dental implants viable.

Dental Implants

A Dental implant is a tooth made of a titanium post with a replacement tooth (crown) attached to the top. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth, anchor a dental bridge, or a full arch of teeth.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

If you’ve been told that you need to have one or more of your wisdom teeth removed by our dentist, you may be wondering, especially if you are not currently experiencing any painful symptoms. So, if you want your wisdom teeth removal visit StarWhite Dental.