You may have been told that you are not eligible for dental implants due to bone loss. With a few extra steps and a little extra time, even someone with bone loss may be able to have an implant. Bone loss occurs when a tooth is lost and not replaced with an implant as soon as possible. The bone around the teeth depends on the teeth to stimulate and maintain bone growth in that area. Losing bone makes it difficult to fit an implant, but it is not impossible.
Even if you don't have any bone loss, you will need a preliminary examination to determine if an implant is feasible. In addition to structural issues with the mouth, you will need to meet other conditions such as be in good health and have no periodontal issues. The amount of bone loss, if any, must be addressed. The dentist or oral surgeon will take measurements to see if you need a bone graft and how much bone you will need for an implant.
Getting a bone graft:
In the past, bone grafts were done using pieces of bone taken from the other parts of the patient's body, but it was complicated and painful. Today, dental surgeons use parts of processed animal bones to graft, or regrow, the patient's own bone. The donor bone is processed by sterilizing and removing much of the organic matter, leaving mostly bone minerals behind. There is also the option of using your own bone or a human donor bone instead of animal bone, but the cost is usually higher and the procedure is more complicated.
Getting ready for implants:
Whether you will be able to receive your implant at the time of grafting depends on the type of graft and on how much bone material was needed. If a substantial amount of bone needed to be replaced, then the bone graft must be completely stable and healed before it can receive an implant. Though you will be back to normal in a day or two after grafting, if there are no complications, it may still take months before a large graft will heal. Even after it heals, your dentist or surgeon may wish to graft more bone on the site.
Bone grafts can be expensive and time-consuming. The best way to prevent needing one is to not lose any teeth in the first place. If that is not possible, then get an implant as soon as possible after losing your teeth, preferably in the first six months. If you want to get an implant, but already have bone loss, talk to your implant dentist or dental surgeon to see if a bone graft is right for you.Share