Do I Have Enough Jawbone for Dental Implants?
Tooth loss is a major issue that can cause several significant complications, including difficulty, eating and speaking. Tooth loss also impacts the quality of your smile and can cause you to become self-conscious. At Plymouth Ann Arbor Oral & Facial Surgery, we offer dental implants as an option for tooth replacement. This modern treatment is unique and very popular. Dental implants are very versatile and can be used in some different situations. However, to have dental implants, you need to have enough jawbone.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an incredible alternative to the traditional treatments for tooth loss. It is a unique treatment that uses small titanium posts to support ceramic crowns. The titanium posts are surgically implanted into your jawbone. Dental implants provide numerous benefits over traditional treatments. Not only do they restore your abilities to eat and speak, but they are also stable, provide greater comfort, and help to stop the bone loss that occurs after tooth loss.
What Happens to the Jawbone after Tooth Loss?
Your teeth have many essential functions. One of these functions is helping to maintain the strength and integrity of your jawbone. When you chew, the roots of your teeth stimulate the bone, which triggers the body to send essential nutrients required for jaw health. After losing even just one tooth, some of the stimulation in your jaw is lost. The more teeth you lose, the more stimulation is lost. Without stimulation, the body thinks fewer nutrients are needed. As a result, less are sent. Over time, the bone weakens, and jawbone begins to change shape. Your remaining teeth begin to shift out of alignment, throwing off your bite. This can lead to uneven wear patterns on your teeth, an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease, bruxism, and temporomandibular joint disorder.
The Importance of Bone Mass and Dental Implants
The posts of dental implants are surgically placed in your jawbone. As you heal, your bone fuses to the posts in a process called osseointegration. This process gradually stabilizes the posts, integrating them into the jaw and turning them into secure roots that are then used to support your new teeth. For the posts to be properly integrated, you need to have sufficient bone mass left in your jaw. The longer you wait to have your teeth replaced, the more bone mass is lost. Without enough bone mass, the posts may only partially integrate, resulting in them being loose. It is also possible that the posts may not integrate at all. Both of these issues can lead to implant failure.
What if I Do Not Have Enough Jawbone?
If you do not have sufficient bone mass in your jaw at the time of your initial consultation, that does not mean that you are not a candidate for dental implants. There are treatments that can make implants possible. One way we can make implants possible is to restore the missing bone mass with a bone graft. This is a surgical procedure that places bone mass back into the jaw. After you have healed from your bone graft, then implants can be placed. If you are missing an entire arch of teeth, you may be eligible for a treatment called All on 4. This treatment uses only four posts, instead of the normal 6 to 8, that are placed in your jawbone in a way that enables them to take full advantage of the bone mass you do have left, avoiding the need for a bone graft. Having enough bone mass in your jaw is crucial to the success of your dental implants. To schedule your consultation to find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, call Plymouth Ann Arbor Oral & Facial Surgery today at (734) 455-0710.