Has tooth loss caused bone atrophy? Perhaps you are looking into dental implants as a tooth replacement option and were told that you lack enough bone to support an implant. Bone loss is incredibly common among people who have lost teeth. There are many other reasons why bone might be sparse, too. Fortunately, bone grafting can increase the longevity and stability of dental implants – especially among those who may not be candidates for implants because of insufficient bone.
A bone graft is used to thicken and widen the jaw so that implants have enough tissue for their support. There are areas where bone is naturally thinner, particularly above the upper mandible. Above the upper jaw there are sinus cavities and the bone below the sinus cavities is typically thin and narrow. In the case of thin bone below the sinus cavities, bone grafting is beneficial, too.
Why Bone is Important to Implant Stability
Dental implants rely on bone to stay in place. In fact, bone will literally fuse around the implant to secure it. This is possible through a natural biologic process called “osseointegration”. Bone fusing to metal components is only possible with the metal titanium. The body does not reject titanium as a foreign object like it does other materials. This is why titanium is used to make dental implants along with other prosthetics used to replace hard tissue in the spine, hips, and knees. If bone is insufficient, the implant can fail because it lacks the support it needs.
How Do I Know if I Need Bone Grafting
Most patients find out they require bone grafts after they have consulted with a dental professional such as a dentist or oral surgeon for dental implants. The thickness and width of our bone can be seen in diagnostic images like CT scans and some types of X-rays. Your oral health provider will let you know about the status of your bone health after an oral examination.
For more information about bone grafting and dental implants, contact our team at Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates to reserve a consultation.