Every year, millions of Americans turn to dental implants to replace missing teeth, making them a popular alternative to dentures and bridges. For the most part, implants owe that popularity to their design, which relies on the implantation of a metal post deep into the supportive jaw bone.
Embedding the post in your jaw tissue keeps the implants secure, eliminating worries of slippages or sore spots with dentures. Created more like your natural teeth, implants are also easier to care for either dentures or bridges.
Because of their attachment to your jaw, if your jaw bone is thin or weak, it may not be able to support an implant. Fortunately, bone grafts can help supplement your jaw bone, which means even people with a thin jaw bone can still enjoy all the benefits of implants.
As a leading dental implant provider in San Jose, California, The Glen Dental uses advanced bone gafting techniques to strengthen weak or thin jaw bones, making implants a possibility for patients of all ages. If you’re worried that your jaws might be too weak to support implants, here’s how bone grafting can help.
Jaw bone thinning: Why it happens
Like the rest of your bones, your jaw bone continually replenishes itself, replacing old or damaged tissue with new, healthy bone cells. But it’s not a process that happens on its own: Your tooth roots act as a stimulant to keep that replacement cycle going.
When you lose a tooth, the root is gone, too — and the bone replacement cycle slows down. Eventually, old bone isn’t replaced as quickly as it’s lost, and your jaw bone becomes thin and weak. The longer a tooth is missing, the thinner (and weaker) your jaw bone becomes.
Even if you have a denture or bridge to replace a missing tooth, your bone can still become thin and weak since neither of those options stimulates the bone replacement cycle. Dental implants extend below the gum line and can stimulate bone replenishment. But if you’ve waited a while to have an implant placed, your bone might already be too thin to support it.
How bone grafting works
Bone grafting supplements your existing bone tissue, so your jaw can support the implant and the stresses and strains exerted on it. Bone grafting usually is done before the implant post is placed in your jaw, but occasionally, grafting and post placement can be performed at the same time.
Grafts can come from a donor or your own mouth — typically the roof of your mouth or palate. Just a tiny amount of bone is required. In some cases, a synthetic bone substitute can be used. We make a tiny incision, insert the graft material, then close the incision.
Over the next few weeks, the bone graft fuses with your natural bone, creating a strong base for your new implant. Once your post is implanted in your jaw bone, it acts like a natural root to keep that bone replacement cycle active.
Invest in a more confident smile
Bone grafting makes it possible for just about anyone to enjoy all the benefits offered by dental implants. To learn more about state-of-the-art dental implants and how they can help you feel and look your best, call 408-816-1008 or book an appointment online with the team at The Glen Dental today.