Even if you have been told that you’re not a good candidate for dental implants because you lack sufficient jawbone mass in which to place the posts, you may still be able to get implants with the help of a bone grafting procedure.
Many people consider dental implants to be a superior alternative to dentures for replacing one or multiple missing teeth. This is because dental implants are permanently anchored within the jawbone and offer a long-term solution to tooth loss, unlike traditional dentures, which are removable and prone to slipping during chewing and speech.
About jawbone density and the bone graft procedure
Your skeleton, including your jawbone, is comprised of a bone matrix. Within the bone matrix is living bone cells, which are responsible for maintaining the bone mass. Bone cells create new bone mass in response to stimuli. Every time you chew food, the gentle force exerted on your jawbone stimulates its cells to create new bone mass in order to replace the bone cells that are naturally broken down over time.
In some people, more bone is broken down than can be replaced. The result is reduced jawbone mass and density. Consequently, these people lack sufficient bone mass to securely hold an implant in place. This is why a bone graft procedure is necessary. This surgery builds up the bone mass, enabling the dentist to place an implant securely.
Do I need a bone graft for a dental implant?
Only your dentist can determine whether a bone graft will be necessary prior to placing an implant.
The most common reason why patients need a bone graft is if they lost a tooth and then delayed having a dental implant procedure. As soon as the jawbone is no longer stimulated from chewing, it begins to lose density. The lack of chewing stimulation tells the brain that the body can leach calcium from that part of the jawbone because it’s no longer needed there. This process is known as bone resorption.
The longer it’s been since you lost a tooth, the more likely it is that you’ll need a graft to build the bone up again.
There are other reasons why you might need a bone graft, however. It’s possible to have insufficient bone mass due to a developmental defect. Periodontal disease and physical facial trauma are other possible reasons.
In addition, the location of the missing tooth can play a role. The upper molars are found near the bottom of the sinus cavities. The bone in this area may naturally be thinner or less dense, in which case bone augmentation is necessary.
Schedule a dental implant consultation in Huntington
If you’ve been told that you aren’t a good candidate for dental implants because of insufficient jawbone mass, you’re invited to schedule a consultation at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. Call 631.212.8079 to schedule a consultation for dental implants in Huntington, Long Island. Our dentists are experts in performing both bone graft and dental implant procedures, and we often work with patients who have been told elsewhere that they aren’t good candidates for implants.
Please note that at this time, we are open for all appointments, including surgery and cosmetic dentistry. Our entire team is taking all necessary precautions to protect our patients, staff, and community from the spread of COVID-19.
Additional resources for dental implant patients:
- Mayo Clinic, Dental Implant Surgery, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/about/pac-20384622
- Johns Hopkins Medicine, Bone Grafting, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/bone-grafting