3 Bone Repair Methods That Can Prepare Your Mouth For Dental Implants

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A dental implant offers a natural-looking, secure dental replacement option when you have lost a tooth to decay or trauma. The stability of an implant makes the false tooth feel as natural as possible while chewing. That stability is due to the anchoring method of dental implants, which begin with a metal screw inserted into the jawbone. The bone then heals around the screw in a fusing process called osseointegration.

A weakened jawbone due to genetics, decay, or trauma can prove problematic if you want a dental implant. The weakened bone won't fuse with the metal root properly. But there are a few techniques your dentist might be able to use to fix your jawbone and make a dental implant possible.

Bone Graft

A bone graft can be used to fill in areas of bone that are weakened or too narrow to properly support a dental implant. The graft bone either comes from another area of your body, such as the hip, or from a bovine bone or synthetic graft your dentist can provide.

The dentist will cut away any weakened or damaged sections of bone and insert the graft material in that place. Your gums will be stitched closed over the graft area to allow for a protected healing space. Over time, the existing bone will fuse to the graft bone. This will then offer a sufficient starting place for a dental implant.

Guided Regeneration

Guided bone regeneration is a surgical method that utilizes a device called a barrier membrane. This membrane is able to stimulate the generation of new bone in a weakened area. Regeneration is slower than a bone graft, but produces thicker, healthier bone that might prove a better alternative for a dental implant base.

Guided regeneration can be used alone or in conjunction with a bone graft to ensure that a severely weakened area becomes healthy enough to support an implant. Dental implants are the predominant reason regeneration is performed.  

Ridge Modification

A ridge modification is a specialized form of bone graft that's aimed at strengthening and/or widening the jawbone ridge. The ridge is particularly important when placing a dental implant as it's the uppermost point of contact between the metal screw and the bone. The ridge also directly supports the artificial tooth later snapped onto the root.

The importance of the ridge means your dentist might attempt both a graft and regeneration to ensure the area thickens up properly. If the ridge remains weak, your dentist might recommend another dental replacement option such as a subperiosteal implant, which has a base that sits on the top of the jawbone rather than embedding into the bone. To learn more, speak with someone like Quality Dental Care.