Dental implants are a great way of replacing teeth that have been lost, but sometimes patients worry that they're not a good fit for them. You may have heard that if you have experienced bone loss in your jaw, won't be able to get dental implants. The good news is that even with bone loss, you still have options that can allow you to get dental implants. Here are three possible steps your dentist may take to help you get the implants you want.
Assessing The Cause
In most cases, bone loss in the jaw is due to a patient having missing teeth for a prolonged period of time. Teeth help to keep the bone strong, but when they fall out, the jaw bone can weaken and become more brittle or fragile. However, this isn't the only way that a jaw bone can become frail.
In some cases, bone density can be lost in the jaw due to overall bone loss in the body. This can be due to a disease like osteoporosis, or simply from a diet that's lacking in the calcium and vitamin D the body needs to keep bones strong.
To determine your bone loss cause, your dentist will examine and x-ray your jaw to determine its density. The dentist will then ask you some questions regarding your medical history and typical diet. If you have a history of osteoporosis in your family, have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, or your diet is poor, increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake may be helpful in bulking up the bones in your body to the point where they can tolerate dental implants.
If your bone loss is due to missing teeth, a bone graft can help you. Bone grafts are essentially small amounts of bone taken from elsewhere in the body, like the chin or hip, and grafted to the place that needs them - in this case, your jaw. The body can knit two pieces of bone together, just like it does with broken bones.
If your case calls for it, your dentist can perform a bone graft that will help to strengthen the bone in your jaw. Once the bone has healed, you'll be able to have dental implants installed.
Mini Dental Implants
Lastly, one potential option for you is miniature dental implants. Mini dental implants function exactly like standard dental implants, except that the titanium peg is smaller than a standard dental implant's peg. Although the difference in size is only a matter of millimeters, the size difference means that weaker or thinner bones can often support a mini dental implant when a standard dental implant would be too large or risk fracturing the bone.
Contrary to popular belief, people with weaker bones or diseases of the bone can potentially still get dental implants with adequate medical care. Talk to companies like Oral Surgery Center to find out if you're a suitable candidate for mini dental implants or a bone graft.