When a patient is seeking any sort of implant treatment, one of the first things that Dr. Stearns looks for is the state of their jawbone. If they have a sufficient jawbone foundation for the implant to be placed, than the patient could qualify for their chosen treatment without needing any additional procedures. However, not all patients have this advantage; a common side effect of tooth loss is jawbone depletion, but we have treatments available to help patients regenerate lost bone growth and help better prepare them for implants.
Procedures to repair and grow new bone, unheard of just a few years ago, are now part of routine dental surgical care. Bone grafting is a procedure that replaces missing bone with a material called a bone graft. This new bone growth strengthens the grafted area by forming a bridge between your existing bone and the graft. Over time, the newly formed bone will replace much of the grafted material. Depending on the size of the jawbone depletion, sometimes this procedure can be completed at the same time as the first stage of implant surgery.
Guided Bone Regeneration (GBR) is a procedure in which a membrane is placed over the bone graft site. This membrane further encourages new bone to grow and also prevents the growth of scar tissue into the grafted site. For tight spaces such as between teeth, GBR can help target specific areas where bone growth needs to be encouraged, especially where a dental implant is going to be placed.
The jawbone is vital to the success of all types of dental implants due to a process called osseointegration. During osseointegration, the titanium in the implant fixtures triggers the bone around it to regenerate and secure it in place like a real tooth in the jaw. Without sufficient jawbone to get the process started, it can be difficult for the dental implant to be secured.
If the area of jawbone depletion is relatively small, oftentimes the GBR or bone graft can be done at the same time as the initial stages of implant placement. If it’s a larger area of depletion, and you are receiving larger or multiple implants, than some time may be required to heal before moving forward with implant placement.
The jawbone is essential to the success of your dental implant(s). It not only secures it in place (unlike other tooth replacement options), but also is responsible for a stronger bite, a longer lifespan for the implant, and keeping your smile complete and intact.
If you’re interested in an implant treatment, whether it be dental implants or All-on-4 implant dentures, contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stearns. One of the traits that Dr. Stearns searches for is sufficient bone structure, and he can help determine if you need a bone graft or GBR before moving on with implants. Don’t let your toothless state prevent you from regaining a complete smile; look to bone grafts or GBR from Dr. Stearns in Englewood, NJ.