As you age, the density of your jawbone may decrease. The preservation of your jawbone is often dependent on the stimulation that the bone receives as you chew. Thus, when a tooth is lost, the density of your jawbone may decline. Many people whose jawbone has decreased in density still need to have lost teeth restored, and the restoration may include the use of dental implants.
Dental implants can be used for a single tooth restoration, or they can support dental appliances, such as bridges and dentures. Here is a bit of information about dental implants for people who have lost a large amount of jawbone:
If a standard implant is desired and there is too little jawbone, can the procedure be done?
If the density of your jawbone is not sufficient to support a standard dental implant, you may still be able to have the device placed. However, first, your dentist may suggest a bone graft to increase the density or thickness of the bone before the implantation procedure is performed.
During the bone-grafting procedure, artificial or harvested bone can be attached to your existing bone to stimulate the production of new cells. The harvested bone may come from your own body, a cadaver or an animal, such as a cow.
A bone graft may take several months to heal. However, after the bone has healed, the standard implant can be positioned in the bone, where it will go through an attachment process called osseointegration. As the implant heals into place, the bone integrates with the device to make it stable.
Are there other types of implants that may be used for reduced jawbone density?
There are other types of dental implants available that may be used in lieu of standard implants. Mini implants are small dental implants that can be placed in less dense bone due to their smaller structure. There are also zygomatic implants that can be used if there is too little jawbone available. The zygoma is another name for the cheekbone, and instead of the zygomatic implants being placed in the bone of the jaw, they are positioned in the bone of the cheek.
Each of the different types of dental implants is still usually made of titanium, which is a metal that tends to be non-reactive with bone. Additionally, both mini dental implants and zygomatic implants undergo osseointegration, just as standard implants do.
To learn more about your dental implant options if your jawbone has decreased in density, schedule an appointment with an implant dentist in your area. Contact a professional like Aaron G Birch, DDS PC to learn more.