Implant dentistry is often of interest to patients who have lost their teeth due to periodontal disease or advanced tooth decay. However, those conditions can compromise the quality of the jawbone in the vicinity, and the jawbone’s integrity is essential to long-term dental implant success.
When a periodontist places a dental implant into the jaw, the titanium device is capable of fusing with the bone. This quality gives dental implants their longevity. It also requires that adequate bone material be available at the implant site to facilitate that osseointegration.
This can present a challenge for patients pursuing implant dentistry interventions, as bone loss often follows tooth loss. It occurs when the teeth’s roots are no longer available to anchor the jaw bone.
This bone atrophy progresses more quickly at the rear of the mouth because the bone in that area is thinner. As such, an implant site in that area may not have adequate bone.
Edentulous patients who have worn dentures for many years may also find that they don’t have enough bone to qualify for dental implants at first.
Bone loss doesn’t necessarily rule out a patient as a dental implant candidate, though.
One way to address this situation involves a bone graft surgery. In performing a bone graft, a periodontist will transplant bone from elsewhere in the body, such as the chin or hip, and insert it at the implant site. After the patient has healed from that surgery, the implant is then placed.
With a successful bone graft, a patient can still plan to have dental implants as a long-term solution for tooth loss. The graft generally supports the implant in the same way that endogenous bone would.
Patients with bone loss may not automatically need a bone graft in order to get dental implants. The periodontist may be able to use specific surgical techniques to get around the bone loss.
A bone graft can help some patients access dental implants even in the face of bone loss. If you are concerned that jawbone atrophy may prevent you from getting dental implants, schedule a visit today to discuss your treatment options with our skilled periodontal team.