People who opt for a dental implant because they’ve lost a tooth may be surprised when our dentist tells them they do not have enough bone tissue in their jaw to support one. During the first phase of a dental implant, the dentist places a post, usually made of titanium or zirconium, into the jaw. This post is supposed to fuse with the jawbone. If it doesn’t fuse properly, the dental implant can fail, and bone augmentation may be necessary.
How Does a Dentist Know Bone Augmentation Is Needed?
The dentist or oral surgeon can tell that the patient needs bone augmentation in their jaw through X-rays and a dental exam. They can see that the patient’s bone is either too soft or too thin to support an implant. This can happen for several reasons.
Besides tumors, people can lose bone in their jaw simply because they have a tooth extracted. Bone tissue is surprisingly like muscle tissue in that it needs some stress to stay strong. When the stress and pressure given by a tooth is taken away, the bone in the jaw tends to collapse. This is especially true in the upper jaw. Gum disease can destroy the bone to the point where even a healthy tooth can fall out. Even dentures and bridges can contribute to bone loss because they don’t produce enough pressure to keep the bone strong.
How Is a Bone Graft Accomplished?
Bone graft or bone augmentation can be accomplished by taking some bone tissue from another part of the patient’s body. We also offer processed bone that is obtained from a donor.
The material doesn’t add bone right away but stimulates the body to create new osteocytes, or bone cells. This often takes months, but after the area is healed and the bone has been straightened, the dental implant can be placed.
The patient will need to follow post-surgical protocols such as eating only soft foods for a few days or rinsing with warm water as they would with any other oral surgery. Our educated staff can provide you with complete aftercare instructions to ensure you achieve optimal results.
Call Us for More Information about Bone Augmentation
If you want a dental implant but are worried that you may not have enough bone in your jaw to support it, give us a call at the Carnegie Dental Clinic in Victoria, BC. You can contact us today to schedule your consultation!