If you’re struggling to share a smile because of missing teeth, dental implants can help restore your confidence. When bone loss is a factor, your jaw may not be able to support dental implants. Bone grafting can provide the stability for successful dental implants and renew your smile.
Dr. Margaret Culotta-Norton and Dr. Peter Grinc in Washington, DC, provide dental implant consultations. If necessary, they can recommend bone grafting and implantation of a post and then complete the restoration of your smile in our office.
Tooth loss and bone loss: The connection
Your jaw needs regular exercise to stay in shape. When you eat, the force of biting and chewing helps keep the jawbone strong. While you’re giving your mouth a workout by taking a bite, your jaw alerts special cells called osteoblasts to build up the bone.
If you’re missing a tooth, that section of your jaw no longer experiences the same force and doesn’t get the same signals to keep that bone strong. As the jawbone deteriorates, it can lead to additional tooth loss, which can lead to additional bone loss.
How dental implants work
Your dentist may suggest a dental implant to take the place of a missing tooth, restoring both appearance and function. The treatment requires a multi-step procedure.
The process begins with the dentist installing a metal post similar to a screw to substitute for your tooth’s root. Over a period of a few months, the jawbone around the area will fuse to the post. This process is called osseointegration. The final step of the dental implant procedure involves the placement of your crown.
When your dentist completes the process, you’ll be ready to show off a full smile. But, if you have been struggling with bone loss, your jaw may not be strong enough to give the implant sufficient support.
Grafting to restore bone
A bone graft can prepare your jaw for a dental implant. During this procedure, a surgeon will use natural or synthetic bone to shore up the weak portion of your jaw. You will have anesthesia for the bone graft and receive postop instructions. You will need several months to heal before you’re ready for a dental implant.
Implant process after bone grafting
Once your bone graft fully heals, your dentist can get to work restoring your smile with a dental implant.
- The dentist will install the metal post
- With osseointegration complete in three to six months, the dentist will secure an abutment, the segment needed to attach the crown
- In a week or two, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth so the dental lab can create a custom-fit crown to replace your tooth
If you’re missing teeth and struggling with bone loss, you may have given up hope of flashing a confident grin. With a bone graft and dental implant, you can expect a lifetime of smiles. To learn more, call Dr. Culotta-Norton at 202-833-1111, or visit the contact page for more information.