Dental implants are the ideal teeth-replacement solution. Considered the gold standard of teeth replacements, implants can give you a brand new, natural-feeling, and natural-looking set of teeth. However, you must have an adequate healthy volume of jawbone for the implants to be stable and successful long-term.
We see many patients at our practice who think they may not be a candidate for dental implants because they are told that they don’t have enough bone. Bone loss, also known as bone resorption, is common in people who have lost teeth. This is because the jawbone isn’t needed where teeth are missing. If the jaw doesn’t have to work to keep teeth in place, the jawbone will weaken and ultimately be absorbed by your body. The extent of jawbone atrophy is different in people with the cause, location, and the number of teeth lost having an impact on its severity. This can make dental implants a bit of a catch 22. You need a strong jawbone to have dental implants, but many patients who need dental implants don’t have adequate bone volume.
The good news is, we can restore bone loss of the jaw in most cases. Once it’s lost, it is not lost forever. Various grafting procedures are available that can be performed for the restoration and regeneration of lost bone. In some implant treatments, we can also work around your bone loss so that you can still get dental implants.
"My philosophy on implants is that they are almost always possible. I am confident we can restore your bone loss and find the right implant solution for you."
DR. KAMRAN HAGHIGHAT, B.D.S., M.S., P.C.
Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology
Diplomate, American Board of Oral Implantology
Regenerative procedures can reverse some of the damage by regenerating lost bone and tissue. Portland Perio Implant Center employs the latest scientifically supported and advanced techniques in reversing damage and salvaging teeth.
Dental Implant Options for Patients with Bone Loss
A bone graft is the most common surgical procedure performed to replace bone that has been lost by using donor tissue from the patient's own body (autogenous bone) or with a natural, artificial, or synthetic substitute. The goal is to regenerate new, healthy, and natural bone in the area where the implants will be placed. Bone grafts are the most common type of tissue regeneration procedure that can be performed either before or at the same time as implant placement. The healing time for bone grafts varies depending on the extent and location of the grafted site and will typically take 4-6 months for adequate bone regeneration to take place.
If a patient is missing bone in the lower jaw, a nerve called the inferior alveolar nerve may be sitting too close to the surface of the gums. This is because the bone that once protected the nerve has atrophied significantly and the vertical bone dimension remaining above the nerve is inadequate for placement of a dental implant. Dental implants placed too close to a nerve must be avoided to prevent damage to the nerve which may result in an altered sensation or numbness, If a bone graft is not possible, and in rare cases, the nerve can be repositioned aside so a dental implant can be accommodated in the jawbone.
Alternative Implant Protocols
All On 4® Protocol and Zygomatic Dental Implants
These treatment protocols utilize the available bone volume for the placement of dental implants without the use of bone grafts. All On 4® dental implant treatment can be performed in both upper and lower jaws exhibiting varying degrees of bone loss. Zygomatic dental implants are particularly advantageous in patients who have severe bone loss in their upper jaw where conventional All On 4® treatment is not feasible.
Zygomatic dental implants allow for a patient to bypass the bone grafting procedure because the implants are implanted directly into the cheekbone internally, also known as the zygoma, which is near the back of the sinuses. Zygomatic implants are extra-long and provide a secure anchorage for the upper replacement prosthetic teeth. These implants are placed in the more posterior aspect of the upper jaws and are usually used in combination with regular dental implants placed in the front of the jaw to provide a nice spread of the replacement teeth.
As you can see, even if you have suffered bone loss in your jaw, you can still be a candidate for dental implants. In fact, many dental implant patients initially come to our office with bone loss. Our philosophy on implants is that they are almost always possible. I am confident we can restore your bone loss and find the right implant solution for you.
All-on-4® is a registered trademark of Nobel Biocare.