Replacing Bone For Dental Implants

Bone loss can be detrimental to the health of your teeth. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and restore bone loss in the jaw. Dental implants are one of the most beneficial ways to replace missing teeth and can help support bone structure to prevent further deterioration in the jaw bone. Plants use the support of underlying bone structure and healthy gum tissue to stay securely in place so if a patient does not have enough bone mass, they may need to have a bone graft surgery before an implant can be placed.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults. Other reasons a patient may begin to lose bone mass include osteoporosis or other underlying medical issues. When the jaw bone begins to deteriorate, otherwise healthy teeth can become loose and fall out. Changes in the patient’s facial structure are another side effect of bone loss but fortunately, a bone graft can restore the jaw and keep everything healthy.

How does periodontal disease cause bone loss?
Gum disease develops in stages, the first of which is gingivitis. If caught early, gingivitis is easily treated and any adverse effects are likely reversible. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis which is a chronic bacterial infection in the gum pockets. Each of our teeth have pockets between the tooth structure and gum tissue and when they become infected and inflamed due to a build-up of tartar and bacteria, the gum tissue begins to recede from the root surface causing sensitivity and bone loss.

Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause of gum disease, though gum disease may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or even certain medications. Some patients may even be genetically predisposed to periodontal disease and can benefit from more frequent professional cleanings with their dental hygienist than the typical twice a year.

Signs and symptoms of gum disease include:
* Tender, puffy gums that bleed when flossing/brushing
* Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
* Halitosis (chronic bad breath that does not go away after oral hygiene)
* Mobile teeth
* Pain and difficulty chewing

Patients with periodontal disease that suffer from gum recession can have a lot of pain throughout the day. Severe cases of Graham recession can be treated with a gum graft to restore the area before the loss can occur. Without treatment for my periodontist, the jawbone can begin to deteriorate causing otherwise healthy teeth to become mobile from the lack of support. If you notice signs of gingivitis, it is important to go ahead and have it treated by your dental office before it can progress further and cause additional damage. Patients that do show signs of bone loss still have a few options available. A periodontist oral surgeon can provide treatment to restore bone to any affected area.

Bone Loss and Dental Implants

For patients who have dental implants or are hoping to have an implant placed but do not have enough bone structure, a bone graft can restore the area and provide adequate support for the implant and remaining teeth. A bone graft is performed by either an oral surgeon or a periodontist.

After the area has been evaluated and it has been determined that you do need a bone graft, the doctor will schedule you for surgery, often in anticipation of eventually placing an implant. The procedure for a bone graft is performed under local anesthetic, administered via injection directly to the site being worked on.

Once the area receiving the bone graft is numb, the doctor will make a small incision in the gum tissue to access the infected bone. Any infected bone remaining will be removed before new bone is placed. The graft site is then stitched up and left to heal for a few months during which the new bone will fuse with the remaining bone to rebuild the jaw and provide a stable foundation for any remaining natural teeth future implants.

Types Of Bone Graft

There are a few different types of bone grafts that may be available to you which may include a synthetic bone, a donor cadaver bone, or bone harvested from the patient's own hip or another area of their mouth. Your doctor will review these options and together you will determine which type is best for your individual case.

Types of bone grafts include:

* Alloplast: This is a synthetic material containing calcium, phosphorus, and hydroxylapatite, a natural mineral chemically similar to hard tissue.
* Allograft: A graft in which a piece of bone is harvested from a human cadaver donor.
* Xenograft: A graft in which a piece of donor bone is harvested from an animal, usually a cow.
* Autograft: A graft that is harvested from the patient’s hip or the back of their jaw.

Preventing Bone Loss

Practicing good home care and sticking to a healthy diet accompanied by regular visits to your dentist can help prevent gum disease from developing in the first place. If you do have some symptoms of gingivitis, your dentist may be able to actually reverse any damage that has been done to the existing gum tissue.

Gum disease is a common problem for adult patients and it is not always just because of bad oral hygiene. Patients can be genetically predisposed to periodontal issues including I'm disease so it is important to understand her health history and maintain a good home care routine in order to give yourself the best chance of preventing periodontal disease and possibly bone loss.

A patient can develop gingivitis without even realizing it but if you do see any symptoms of gingivitis, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible for a routine cleaning and an exam to assess the area and any damage that may have been done. When caught early, gum disease is easily treated and prevented. Gum disease can quickly lead to gum recession but your periodontist can provide a gum graft to restore the tissue thereby protecting the underlying bone from becoming infected.

Patients who are more susceptible to periodontal disease may be advised to have professional cleanings more often than twice a year. The "industry standard" is that by insurance companies as two per year but most patients are better served with three or four cleanings per year. Even if your dental insurance does not cover more than two cleanings, paying out-of-pocket for one or two cleanings each year is much less costly and much less painful than requiring treatment for periodontal disease and bone loss.

Titanium Dental Implants

Scroll to Top