While dental implants are appealing, some patients who want to pursue this treatment may find that extensive bone loss prevents them from doing so immediately.
Sufficient bone material is essential to sustain the process in which the implant fuses with the jaw, known as osseointegration. However, bone loss is a consequence of tooth loss, so patients who delay getting dental implants may find that the bone has degraded to the degree that the implant faces an increased risk of failure.
On the other hand, some patients find that a congenital issue leaves their bone too thin or otherwise unsuitable for dental implants.
Patients in such cases aren’t automatically ruled out as candidates for dental implants, but most of them will need preliminary bone grafting to provide adequate bone tissue to support the dental implant.
Our oral surgeons may use one of a number of bone graft techniques, depending on the circumstances of the specific case. In a general bone graft, the oral surgeon will take bone from elsewhere in the body, generally the chin or hip, and insert it into the intended implant site.
The rear of the jaw can be a problematic area for dental implant placement, as the bone is naturally thinner under the sinus cavity. The bone tends to erode more quickly following tooth loss in this vicinity. The oral surgeon may recommend a sinus lift, in which the sinus floor is raised and bone graft material inserted into the resulting space.
Ridge augmentation is another common bone graft procedure. In this process, bone graft material is inserted into the ridge of the jaw to make it either thicker or higher. An oral surgeon may also need to perform a nerve repositioning to move the nerves in the lower jaw before placing dental implants there.
At your initial consultation, our oral surgeons will have a sense of whether a bone graft is likely to be needed in your case. When such a procedure is recommended, it will extend your treatment timeline, but your patience is worthwhile if it helps prevent failure of a dental implant.