Losing teeth is a serious issue that causes many significant complications. Some of the more well-known effects of tooth loss include the impact the event has on your smile and the effects it has on your abilities to eat and speak. One of the lesser known effects is what tooth loss does to your jawbone. Following tooth loss, you begin to lose bone mass in your jaw. Dental implants provide a unique option for replacing missing that addresses all of these issues, including stopping bone loss. If you have lost too much bone mass, however, implants may not integrate properly. At Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA, we can increase the success rate of dental implants with bone grafting.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a treatment used to replace missing teeth. Implants are a modern treatment, giving you an alternative to traditional bridges and dentures. They are a unique treatment that uses small titanium posts to provide support for your replacement teeth. The posts are placed surgically into your jaw. Implants are a versatile treatment that can replace a single tooth, several teeth, or even an entire arch of teeth.
Why is Bone Mass Important?
The success of your dental implants relies significantly on the condition of your jawbone. After the implant posts are placed, your jawbone begins to fuse to them in a process known as osseointegration. This is a gradual process that stabilizes the posts within your jaw so that they can hold your teeth securely in place. Following tooth loss, your jawbone begins to weaken as bone mass is lost. If too much bone mass is lost, your jawbone may not be able to fuse properly to the posts. Alternatively, it may not be able to fuse at all. Implants placed in weak bone may be loose and unstable and can cause implant failure.
What is Bone Grafting?
An initial consultation is required before implant placement. During this consultation, we examine the condition of your jawbone to ensure it is strong enough to support the implant posts. If your bone is too weak, this does not necessarily mean you cannot get implants. Instead, you need a bone graft first.
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that involves transplanting bone mass into the weak areas of your jaw. The bone mass may be harvested from your own body, or it may be taken from a tissue bank. After your procedure is complete, your existing bone fuses too, or around, the grafting material. This aids in restoring mass and strength to your jaw, making dental implants possible.
Types of Bone Grafts
There are a few different types of bone grafts that may be performed to restore missing bone mass in your jaw. These types of grafts include:
||Autografts. An autograft is a graft that uses bone mass taken from your own body. With this type of graft, you do require an additional surgical site, but there is no risk for disease transmission or graft rejection because the tissue is your own.
||Allograft. An allograft uses bone tissue taken from a human donor source. The tissue is screened before use to reduce the risk of any potential complications. The major benefit of this type of bone graft is that you avoid the need for an additional surgical site.
||Xenografts. A xenograft uses bone mass from a non-human source. In most cases, the tissue is harvested from a cow. The bone material is processed at high temperatures to make it safe for use. A xenograft may be used when larger grafts are required. Like an allograft, there is no need for an additional surgical site.
If you are interested in getting dental implants, but your jawbone is too weak during your initial consultation, you may be a candidate for bone grafting. Call Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA at (907) 802-4519 today to schedule your appointment.