If you’re familiar with dental implants, then you’ve probably heard that they’re considered the best possible option when it comes to replacing missing teeth; after all, they replace lost pearly whites in terms of look and functionality and can easily last for several decades! But sometimes, a patient cannot immediately receive dental implants without first undergoing a preparatory procedure. Keep reading to learn more about a few of these different procedures and how they ultimately set implants up for lasting success!
Dental Bone Grafting
The success of dental implants is directly tied to osseointegration, or the process by which the implant posts fuse with the jawbone. If the jawbone doesn’t have a sufficient amount of density for supporting these posts, they will inevitably loosen and fail. When a tooth falls out, the surrounding jawbone structure begins to deteriorate, which weakens bone density—and the longer this area goes without a tooth or implant, the more it will deteriorate! When the jawbone isn’t strong enough to support an implant, a dental bone graft is utilized, which involves fortifying the compromised area with additional, supplementary bone matter (often repurposed from the patient, but sometimes from a synthetic source). Once healed, the jawbone will have the volume to support implants!
The sinus lift procedure is actually quite similar to bone grafting; however, it’s usually only utilized when dental implants need to replace molars or premolars in the upper part of the mouth. When your oral surgeon is replacing these teeth, they’ll need to check that the bone density of the upper jaw can support implants. Sometimes, the patient’s sinus is larger than normal, causing it to be closer to the upper jaw. In either case, it often means the jawbone doesn’t have sufficient height for an implant to be embedded, so a sinus lift can be used to increase the bone structure between the jawbone and sinus cavity, creating space for the implant(s).
Though it might seem counterintuitive, sometimes tooth extractions are a requirement before a patient can receive dental implants. If the patient has a severely damaged or infected tooth that needs to be replaced, it obviously needs to come out. Additionally, there’s the possibility that a patient might require multiple dental implants to replace several teeth; this means it might be necessary to remove perfectly healthy teeth that are in the way of the intended restoration. Tooth extractions vary from patient to patient; sometimes simple extractions can be done using forceps, but in more complex cases, surgical extraction might be required.
If you have missing teeth, but you’ve been informed that dental implants aren’t an option until you’ve undergone one or more of these procedures, there’s no reason to feel distressed. This little bit of extra prep work will certainly ensure that your future implants serve you well!
About the Practice
Dr. Jeff Lee and his team at Muskingum Valley Oral Surgery are thrilled to provide an exceptional level of care for patients and families in the Cambridge and Marietta communities! They offer a comprehensive range of services including dental implants and related procedures. If you have any questions about the article or would like to arrange a visit for you or a loved one, feel free to contact the practice online for further assistance or to find a location near you.