3 Dental Implant Options If You've Had Bone Loss

Do you need dental implants to replace lost or damaged teeth? If so, one of the most important factors in the implant process is anchoring the implants into bone in your mouth. However, that could be difficult if you've had bone loss due to gum disease or other medical issues. Without strong bone to use as an anchor, the implants may not sit firmly in your mouth. Or your dentist may not be able to install the implants at all. Fortunately, you do have some options available. Here are three possible solutions to fix your bone issues so you can move ahead with your dental implants:

Bone graft.

With this treatment, your dentist will add bone to your jaw. The bone can be taken from other parts of your body. In most cases, the dentist tries to find other bone in your mouth that can be used. If that's not possible, the dentist may use synthetic bone created from bone donations. The dentist cuts back your gums to expose the specific area and then grafts the new bone into place. You'll likely need to go home and let the bone heal before the dentist can move ahead with installing the implants. Bone grafts are often very successful and have very short recovery times.

Sinus lift.

This treatment is often used if the missing bone is in the back upper jaw area. The dentist will cut open the gums and then push up the sinus plate to create room for new bone to grow. He or she may also graft new bone into the area to expedite bone development. Because this procedure involves the development of natural bone, you may have to wait several months or even a year before going ahead with the dental implants. However, when you do, the implants will be anchored into natural bone, which should keep them firm and solid.

Ridge modification.

In some cases, the problem isn't that bone has been lost, but rather that the bones never developed correctly in the first place. Your gum ridges may be too narrow to effectively anchor implants. The dentist will make a small incision in the gum ridges and then insert a bone graft to get the ridges into the appropriate size and shape. He or she will then seal the ridges back up. In many cases, the implants can be installed in the same session, immediately after the ridge modification is done. One benefit of ridge modification is that it will have an aesthetic effect and may make your gums and mouth look healthier and more aligned.

For more information, talk to your dentist, like Bruce Parker DMD. They can examine your jaw and recommend the most appropriate solution.