After the initial procedure of dental implant surgery, where implants are placed within the jawbone, precautions must be taken to prevent an infection or worse. If you are considering getting dental implants, then keep reading to be prepared for proper aftercare. This can help ensure the success of the procedure and reduce your discomfort.The following…
What Can Be Done If I Don’t Have Enough Bone for Dental Implants?
People who want to replace missing teeth often decide that dental implants are the way to go. They are stable, they look and function like real teeth and they often last a lifetime. The problem for those who are switching from dentures or have been without teeth for a long time is that there may be significant bone loss. If there is not enough bone to attach the implants to, it is more challenging to do the procedure. However, there are ways to still get implants.
Alternative techniques for dental implants
With bone grafting, the dentist takes bone from somewhere else (typically the hip bone) and places it in the jaw where they will put the implant. Another alternative is to use artificial materials to do the graft, although this results in a longer healing time.
A dental professional may recommend a sinus lift if the back area of the upper jaw has significant bone loss and cannot support dental implants. The dentist places some bone into the maxillary sinus, which is the pocket of air that surrounds the nose. This effectively lifts the jaw and allows implants to be placed.
An alternative to grafting, distraction osteogenesis basically rebuilds bone without having to get it from another part of the body. During the procedure, two segments of bone are separated, and a device is installed to slowly expand the jaw. Over time, new bone grows in between. The result is a sturdy and strong bone that can handle implants.
The ridge surrounds the teeth and lends support. With bone loss, the ridge begins to lose density and becomes narrower, which makes it impossible to place implants. An oral surgeon performs ridge expansion to increase the width of the ridge bone. During the procedure, the bone is divided and filled in with a bone graft. Depending on the individual situation, the placement of dental implants may occur at the same time as the expansion procedure.
Zygoma or pterygoid implants
For patients with bone loss in the upper jaw, the dentist may recommend zygoma implants. The zygoma is the cheek bone and is made of very hard and thick bone. Instead of implanting the teeth into the jaw, they are placed in the zygoma. The pterygoid plate is a bony structure behind the wisdom teeth and provides a good foundation for implants. These non-bone-grafting procedures are options for patients who cannot have a sinus lift procedure due to large sinuses.
Success of implant alternatives
The procedures that help build new bone are very effective. In fact, PubMed reports that bone grafting is up to 85% successful. Patients should discuss with their dentist or oral surgeon about the options available and the risks involved with each procedure.
While significant bone loss presents a challenge for dental implant placement, there are other options. These surgical alternatives allow patients to enjoy permanent teeth replacements. The benefits of this include better jaw stability, pleasing aesthetics and improved chewing and speaking functions.
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