Bone loss can happen when a single tooth or multiple teeth are removed or missing. If a tooth is removed and nothing is done with the extraction site, the jaw bone will degenerate and change shape during healing and can cause your teeth to shift. This can create problems in your bite and affect your ability to speak and chew. You have options for missing teeth, and our doctors are happy to discuss these options with you.
Dr. Robin, Dr. Matt, and Dr. Mike offer dental implants, as they are an amazing treatment for replacing missing teeth. However, placement of dental implants requires careful evaluation and consideration with respect to the bone where the implant is placed.
A dental implant is placed into the jawbone and is used as an anchor to support a crown (artificial tooth). When the implant is placed, the goal is to ensure that it is completely stable within the bone, so that it is strong enough to support the tooth on top of it. Great care must be taken to ensure there is enough bone around the implant as this provides the dental implant with its strength and stability. So when placing a dental implant, it is extremely important to ensure there is sufficient volume of bone around it in height, width, and depth.
As a general guideline, at least 1 millimeter of bone is required around a dental implant. More space is required when the implant is next to a tooth or another implant (2 and 3 millimeters respectively). If there is not enough bone to completely envelope the implant, a bone graft will be required. When evaluating the height of bone, there should simply be enough bone that the implant will be completely submerged. When placing implants in the upper jaw, there may not be enough room vertically, and a sinus lift may be required to rebuild bone.
A bone graft is the addition of bone, or bone-like material, in an effort to increase the volume of bone in the jaw. Typically, the bone is placed and heals before the implant can be placed. The healing period can vary, depending on the type of bone used. There are many types of bone grafts, and the type of bone graft that will be chosen will depend on the situation, and on the amount of bone required.
Depending on the situation, bone grafts may be placed at the same time as an implant, or before the implant. While it is more convenient to place the implant and graft at the same time (thus saving treatment time), sometimes the clinical situation does not allow it. If the bone graft must be placed before the implant is put in, it is very important to follow the timelines set out for treatment where sufficient healing, but minimal resorption has occurred.
If you have any questions about dental implants and bone grafts, speak with either Dr. Robin, Dr. Matt, Dr. Mike, or any of the Hildebrand Estivo Dental team members today.