The jaw bone is very important for dental implants. In fact, just as a foundation is important to a house so jaw bone is important to dental implants.
For any dental implant procedure to be successful there must be sufficient bone in the jaw to integrate with the implant and to give it support. And if the patient suffers significant bone loss, this could greatly affect his/her implant placement.
Before you conclude whether you have sufficient bone density to give support to dental implants, you need to consult your dentist who will examine your dental condition to ascertain that.
Loss of bone, known as osteoporosis, is a medical condition where the bones are very fragile and are more prone to be damaged. When there is a significant bone loss in the jawbone, this can affect the performance of dental implants negatively. Generally, the upper jaw does not contain as much jawbone as the lower jaw. Hence, are more prone to osteoporosis, which may be caused by dental infection; cavities; gum disease; injury to a tooth, gum, or jawbone; loss of a tooth, etc.
Can You Get Dental Implants Only in Your Upper Jaw?
Yes, you can get a full arch dental replacement for your upper jaw alone. Having a dental implant in your upper jaw follows the same general dental implant procedure. However, what happens when you do not have sufficient bone in your upper jaw to support the dental implant?
In such a case, there are several ways by which your dentist can add more bone to your upper jawbone in preparation for a dental implant. These include:
This is when the dentist takes bone from other parts of your body and places it in your upper jaw where the dental implants will go. Your dentist may also do a bone graft with synthetic bone.
During a sinus lift, your dentist basically lifts your upper jaw (molars and premolars part) by inserting some bone into the maxillary sinus – the region above the back teeth, which is on both sides of the nose – hence the name sinus lift. The dentist would have to lift the sinus membrane of the patient upward to fit the additional bone. Your dentist would do this should in case the back part of your upper jaw lacks enough bone to support dental implants.
This is a type of bone graft and is commonly carried out when the patient’s upper jaw is not wide enough to support dental implants. After carrying out ridge expansion, the dentist can now fix the dental implants. Some dentists proceed with dental implant surgery immediately after ridge expansion, while others wait for a few months for complete recovery.
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Distraction osteogenesis is another type of bone graft options. This option is normally used to make the upper jaw bone taller or larger for better support for the dental implants. During this process, your dentist would cut some bone from your jaw bone and would place a titanium device using screws and pins in-between the separated bone and the jaw bone. Your dentist will unscrew the titanium device a little bit daily to make the jaw bone grow “taller” over time.
Once you now have sufficient jawbone in your upper jaw as a result of any of the above procedures, your dentist can then proceed with inserting the dental implant in your upper jawbone. However, if you do not wish to undergo any of the above procedure, you can ask your dentist for a mini dental implant procedure instead. Being an upper jaw, it doesn’t receive as much impact as the lower jaw. Hence, the mini dental implant should be an option. Discuss with your dentist about the mini dental implant.