January 06, 2020
You decide it is time to do something about your missing teeth. It’s already been several years, but you’re tired of looking at an incomplete smile each morning. You make your appointment with the dentist only to find out during your consultation that you have serious bone loss and cannot successfully move forward with dental implants. What do you do? In a situation like this, you might be tempted to go with an alternative solution like dentures or a fixed bridge, but what if there was another way? Read on to find out how certain procedures can restore bone strength and give you the opportunity to see a full smile with dental implants.
What Causes Bone to Deteriorate?
There are many reasons why the jawbone can begin to deteriorate over time, including:
- Missing teeth (leads to bone resorption)
- Gum disease
- Serious injury to your jawbone, gums, or teeth
- Developmental deficiency
When it comes to missing teeth, the longer you wait to have them replaced, the more likely you will lose ample bone. You will find that your natural, healthy teeth will begin to shift in an effort to close the gap and changes in your facial structure will also occur (i.e. sunken lips, facial collapse).
Why Dental Implants Need a Strong Jawbone
Since dental implants are titanium posts, they need something to screw in to. To achieve a permanent and stable smile, surgically placing them into the jawbone creates a solid foundation once the implant fuses with the bone and surrounding tissues. Without proper bone strength, it is possible that implants, which are meant to last a lifetime with proper care, can fail, resulting in the removal and possible replacement of your restoration.
Ways to Strengthen Bone for Successful Implant Placement
If you’ve been told you don’t qualify for implants because of your bone loss, you’ll be happy to know that you can pursue certain surgical procedures that are designed to strengthen your jawbone and give you a chance for a fully restored smile. These include:
This requires your dentist to take bone minerals from another part of your body and place them into the small area of your jawbone. This will encourage the area to strengthen and build a more solid base for future implants. It can take several months to recover from a bone graft, so be patient.
Your maxillary sinuses are located immediately behind your cheeks and above your upper back teeth. If a dental implant is to be placed in the top arch of your mouth, toward the back, it may be necessary to lift the upper jaw and put bone minerals into the sinus area. This will allow the bone to grow into the floor of your sinuses and create a stable foundation.
If your jaw is not wide enough for implants, a ridge expansion can work to create necessary space for dental implants as well as build stronger support for successful placement. It is a type of bone graft that requires the ridge bone to be divided and moved apart. Once space is created, the bone minerals will be placed.
The last solution is known as distraction osteogenesis, which requires separating two pieces of bone and creating a new one. If the jawbone needs to be taller, this is the ideal procedure to make that happen. A titanium device that uses pins and screws is placed between the separated piece of bone and the jawbone. With every day that passes, your dentist will unscrew the device a small amount until the jawbone appears to be taller.
Anyone can achieve a healthy, beautiful smile with dental implants, but the process of getting there may take longer for those with significant bone loss. Fortunately, it’s not impossible nor will it take forever. By taking the appropriate steps, you will be able to have the fully restored smile you deserve.
About the Practice
Want to replace your missing teeth? At Rowlett Dental Associates, our team of dentists is proud to provide an alternative solution to traditional tooth replacement options – dental implants. Providing start-to-finish treatment all under one roof, you can feel confident and comfortable knowing that your new and improved smile is being treated, created, and cared for by the same individuals you see for your six-month checkups and cleanings. If you want to learn more about dental implants and what they can do for you, contact us via our website or by calling (469) 299-8462.