The biggest barrier to a dental implant procedure is lack of bone density. Just like muscles that atrophy when not in use, our bones lose density without regular, weight-bearing exercise. To keep teeth and surrounding bones strong, you should use them to chew and bite.
Long-time denture wearers typically have lower jawbone densities than people with natural teeth. Dentures tend to transfer chewing pressure to the gums, so the jawbone ends up losing mass and strength. To conserve bone mass, dentists recommend dental implants as the best solution to missing teeth.
However, patients don’t always have the means to get implants immediately after losing a tooth. Some may not have access to a skilled implant dentist, while others may not be able to afford the procedure. So when a patient finally decides he or she is ready, the jawbone is too thin to support implants. Two procedures can overcome this limitation:
Augmentation by Bone Grafting
To reinforce thin bone, a small piece of bone from the chin, back of the lower jaw, hip or shin is grafted to the jaw. Since the bone comes from your own body, there’s little chance of rejection if the procedure is done correctly. However, bone grafting is surgically invasive, costly and require long recovery periods.
The latest technique involves making an incision in the gum and injecting artificial bone material (similar in consistency to toothpaste) into the jaw where the tooth once existed. A large syringe is used to fill the bone cavity. After the material is fully absorbed, the jawbone is ready to accept dental implants.
Dr. Matiasevich, Jr. is an advanced implant dentist specializing in “rescuing” patients from problems caused by removable dentures. Curious about the implant procedure? We have several solutions for missing teeth. To learn more, call us at 831-706-2081 or visit our office at 1775 Dominican Way Santa Cruz, CA 95065.