If you’ve been to the dentist to discuss tooth replacement options, you may have been convinced to give dental implants a try. It’s only natural: they’re strong, realistic, and outlast other tooth replacement options by a matter of two to one.
However, dental implants also require a few things to work well, like a healthy jaw. That can mean that you might need to get some kind of surgical procedure before the dental implants can actually be put in. Here are a few examples.
Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth, but in certain cases, they may be swapped for a tooth that is unhealthy or in poor condition. That involves removing the natural tooth via an extraction, waiting for the wound to heal, then placing the dental implant.
While this can add additional recovery time to dental implant treatment, replacing a tooth before it falls out means that you’re less likely to deal with any kind of bone loss. Speaking of which…
When you lose a tooth, the body naturally starts to move nutrients away from the area of the jaw that once held it and into other, more useful places. As a result, like a muscle that hasn’t been worked in a while, it’s common for the jaw to shrink over time.
If you’ve been missing a tooth for a while, your jaw may have shrunk too much to support a dental implant. If that’s happened to you, you may need a bone graft.
Your doctor can take bone from elsewhere in the body and transplant it, or can use a synthetic bone-like substance. Once the graft heals (after several months) the dentist can put the implant into place.
It may surprise you to hear that the sinuses are shockingly close to the upper jaw—so much so that using a dental implant to replace upper teeth can come with a risk of accidentally puncturing them. This is even more likely if the jaw has shrunk.
Sinus lifts are a lot like bone grafts, except that in addition to surgically implanting bone tissue, they also move the sinus cavity away from the jaw. This makes getting dental implants in the upper jaw considerably safer.
About the Author
When patients meet Dr. Natalya Ramsay for the first time, the thing that people notice first is her remarkable passion for her work. She comes to work each day focused on giving her patients truly excellent oral healthcare. Dr. Ramsay received her degree from the Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry, and she continues her education to this day. She is a current member of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
If you have any questions about dental implants, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (503) 472-1402.