Is Your Mouth Ready For Dental Implants?

The invention of dental implants has revolutionized the way missing teeth are addressed. Previously, the only alternative for filling in the gap was either a partial (removable) denture or a bridge. None of those options offer the look and longevity of a dental implant. If you are thinking about having a dental implant procedure performed, you should consider that some patients have to take some extra steps before they can have the surgery. No matter what the underlying structure of your jawbone, however, you may still be able to have dental implants once you take the following steps.

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

Bone grafting has become a common remedy for those with weak bones in the jaw. Bones can become unstable because of aging, long-term missing teeth, medication, radiation treatments, and disease. The posts that make up the bottom part of the implant must attach to something for it to provide you with years of use. If a diagnostic test reveals your jawbone has begun to atrophy, it will need some shoring up before you get implants.

Bone graft surgery must be done several months before the implant and allowed to fully heal. The material for the graft can come from either your own body, or an artificial material can be used. When your own bone tissue is used, that is known as an autogenous graft. This bone material can come from the surrounding jaw or facial bones or your leg or hip. The harvesting of the bone is a separate surgery. Alternately, cadaver bones and bones from animals can be used used to create a graft. Artificial materials are also available for those who object to the use of real bone material.

Ridge Expansions

If your jawbone is judged to be too narrow to support dental implants, expansion surgery might be needed. Stainless steel rods are inserted in the ridge area of the jaw which creates spaces for the bone grafting material to be added.

Sinus Lift or Augmentation

Your upper jaw is naturally thinner than your lower jaw, making it more difficult for some to have implants inserted there. Additionally, those who are already suffering from bone loss in that area may have sinus cavities far too close to the implant location. A sinus lift involves inserting bone graft material above the gum line to provide more stability and separation.

While no one wants additional surgeries before an implant, many people must have their bones shored up before they enjoy their new smile. Speak to your dentist to find out more about the above grafting procedures.