You have talked to your dentist, and you are ready.
You are going to get dental implants so your dentures will stay in place and so you can start eating the foods that you love once again. (You didn’t realize how much you missed corn on the cob.)
Then, you got some bad news. You don’t have enough bone left in your jaw to support dental implants.
This may be disappointing, but don’t be discouraged. You can still get your implant-supported dentures, but you may need something else first.
That something else is a bone graft, which we can perform for you at North Shore Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. If you want to learn more, contact our dentist office in Buffalo Grove, IL.
What’s Happened To Your Jaw?
You may have heard of symbiotic relationships among animals.
In nature, this generally occurs between two species of animals. A common example is bees and flowers. Flowers need bees to help with pollinate. Flowers create nectar, which attracts the bees. In the process, pollen gets on the bees, which carry that pollen to the next flower.
Flowers reproduce and bees get food. It’s a win-win situation.
Similarly, your teeth and your jawbone have a mutually beneficial relationship. The roots of your teeth press into your jaw every time you bite into or chew your food.
This creates pressure that stimulates your jawbone. That stimulation triggers new tissue growth.
The constant creation of new tissue keeps your jaw healthy and strong. This benefits your teeth because a healthy bone holds your teeth securely in place.
When you lose teeth, your bone is no longer getting the signals that prompt new tissue growth. Over time, you will start losing bone density.
Dental implants can provide stimulation similar to what you received from the roots of your teeth. The problem is that you must have a minimum amount of bone mass to support those implants. If not, then we can’t place the implants where they need to go.
How Can A Bone Graft Help?
If you don’t have sufficient bone to support dental implants, then you need to bring in reinforcements.
In this case, that means surgically adding bone tissue where it is needed. We can do this a couple ways.
An autograft is when we use bone from your own body. By removing bone tissue from one area, we can place it where it is needed.
As you heal, the transplanted bone and the existing bone will grow together. This will create support needed for your dental implants.
The other option is known as an allograft. This bone tissue is taken from a donor and is often stored in a tissue bank.
Bone grafts also may be recommended after you have a tooth removed. If you won’t be able to place a dental implant after a tooth extraction, you will want to sustain your jaw density as long as possible.
We may recommend a socket graft in this case. Rather than leaving the socket open that once held your teeth, we can add bone tissue in an effort to maintain the bone mass for when you are able to get a dental implant later.
An Alternative To Bone Grafting
For some patients, bone grafts may not be a viable option. That isn’t a reason to lose hope, however.
After dental implants were invented, people started innovating to make them better and more versatile. One of those innovations was mini implants.
These are similar to traditional dental implants but with a small diameter. As a result, mini implants may be placed in locations where there isn’t enough bone mass for regular implants.
Often, mini implants can be used for the same reasons as traditional implants.
Mini implants can be used to support a set of dentures. They provide similar benefits as well, making your dentures more secure and allowing you to confidently bite into the food that you have ordered.
Mini implants can support dental bridges as well. Bridges are used to replace multiple missing teeth, but not an entire row of teeth.
And mini implants can support dental crowns for patients who need to replace individual teeth.
Creating A Supportive Environment
We try to support our patients however we can at North Shore Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Sometimes that means making sure your mouth can support the dental implants, so your implants can then support your teeth replacements.