For a long time, it was a general rule that a lack of bone or bone density was the reason many people were ineligible for dental implants. These days, that's not always the case. There are many ways to still go through the implant procedure even if you start with poor bone density.
Bone Density and the Alveolar Ridge
Your jaw's ability to hold and maintain an implant once it's there is because of your alveolar ridge. The ridge is the bumpy area you can feel with your tongue behind and below your teeth. It contains the sockets that hold your teeth in place. The ridge requires stimulation to stay strong and functional:
- The only way to stimulate the ridge is by chewing and talking
- When the ridge no longer receives stimulation, it starts to recede
- The sockets lose their viability and shrink back into the jawbone
- The part of the jawbone with no stimulation will also start to recede
This process is known as resorption. Since an implant goes into the actual socket, it can stimulate the ridge. However, if too much of the ridge is already gone, anchoring the implant becomes too much of a task for the ridge sockets to handle.
Options for Dealing with Low Bone Density
There are other reasons for low bone density such as gum and bone diseases. Some people simply have low density naturally. These days, you have options available to you that can help.
Bone grafting – There are various techniques aimed at grafting bone into the part of the alveolar socket that needs it. Bone grafts help to stimulate the jawbone, which in turn will help your natural ridge to grow and replace the graft material. This also falls under the category of bone regeneration.
There are several ways of achieving results with bone grafts but different situations require different techniques. It all depends on where you need the bone material placed, how much bone material you need, and where you would like the bone material to come from.
Alternative implants – In some cases, the bone density is low, but still able to hold smaller or special implants. There are various types of these implants, with the most popular being the All-on-4 and mini implants.
If you hear you're not a candidate for dental implants, ask about what you can do to become a candidate. If you hear a lack of bone or bone density is a barrier to you receiving implants, then seek a second opinion from an oral care physician that specializes. Dental implant specialists include an orthodontists, prosthodontists, or maxillofacial surgeons.
To learn more, contact a company like Dental Images with any questions you have.