Dental implants aren’t suitable for everyone, especially patients with bone loss. It can be difficult to get dental implants because you may not have enough bone left in your jaw to hold the implant.
So, the question remains, can you get dental implants with bone loss? Yes, you can. Most of the time, however, bone will need to be replaced before you can receive any dental work.
Let’s take a closer look at dental implants, the role bones play in those implants, and how bone grafting can help with bone loss.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants replace missing or lost teeth and teeth that need an extraction, such as decayed or damaged teeth. Before proceeding with dental implants, your dentist will determine the best course of action based on your condition and dental needs.
A dental implant is usually a titanium post placed into your jaw bone that acts as an anchor in place of the tooth root. Permanent or removable dental prostheses, such as dentures, crowns, or bridges, are then secured to the titanium root.
Dental implants are an effective option to replace missing teeth in patients because they are sturdy and can support the artificial tooth or teeth. Advantages of dental implants include:
- An improved appearance because they match your natural teeth.
- Restore function by replacing one or more missing teeth without impacting adjacent, natural teeth.
- Resolves joint pain or bite problems
- Rectify chewing as dental implants function like your own teeth.
- Improved speech without worrying about poor-fitting dentures or slippage.
- Improved digestion since you can chew your food more thoroughly.
- Restore or enhance facial tissues.
- With good care, dental implants can last for years, if not a lifetime.
Why Is Bone Important in Dental Implants?
When you lose a tooth, it doesn’t only affect that area of the mouth but also the surrounding bone, which weakens over time. The weak or decaying bone structure in your jaw can affect nearby teeth and gum tissue and impact your overall health.
For this reason, it’s crucial to address lost or missing teeth as soon as possible. Dental implants can actually preserve the integrity of your jaw structure.
Other causes of bone loss can include:
- Poor diet
- Periodontal disease
- Trauma to the teeth
- Major infections
Bone Grafting for Dental Implants
Generally, you should be in good health, have healthy gums, and have enough bone to support a dental implant. However, if you don’t have enough bone in your jaw, there is a way to combat this issue.
Bone grafting is a procedure that builds the foundation to prepare for a dental implant. Bone grafts can work for bone that is too thin, if there’s significant damage to the bone, or softening and decay that can’t support a dental implant.
What to Expect in a Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants typically happen over 2 appointments but can also be done in one:
- The first appointment involves implanting the titanium root into the jawbone and beneath the gum line. During healing, the titanium root attaches to the jawbone and gums, which can take several months.
- The second appointment involves attaching an abutment, a small post that connects to the artificial tooth, to the titanium root. Afterwards, the dentist attaches the artificial tooth. Follow-up appointments ensure the replacement tooth settles correctly into the abutment.
Caring for Your Dental Implants
To ensure your dental implants last as long as possible, care for them as you would your natural teeth by:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day
- Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash
- Having regular dental exams to ensure implants remain firm
- Have regular cleanings to remove plaque and tartar and prevent gum disease
Bone Grafting for Dental Implants
Dental implants can minimize potential bone loss in your jaw. So, consider talking to your dentist about this option if you have any missing teeth. If you’re considering implants but are concerned about bone loss, West 85th Dental can help.
You can book an appointment to talk to one of our dentists to determine if you are a candidate for bone grafting.