Qualifying for dental implants is a different experience for every patient. Some of the traits that determine a patient’s candidacy are jawbone volume and oral health conditions, which can be found in most patients seeking implants. However, don’t feel disheartened: these conditions can be easily remedied through the application of additional treatments such as a bone or gum graft. Take a look below at your options available at Center Valley Dental with Dr. Matthew Lang.
A supplemental treatment for a dental implant is meant to improve the success rate of your particular implant, despite any jawbone deterioration or oral afflictions you once had. These procedures are meant to help, not hinder, your dental implant process and will be discussed in full with Dr. Lang prior to your treatment. These treatments can range from scaling and root planing, to tissue placements like a bone graft or soft tissue augmentation. The state of your oral health will determine what treatments you need and if a period of healing will be needed prior to your dental implant treatment.
A bone graft is often thought of as an invasive, painful treatment, but it truly is not. The purpose of a bone graft is to introduce new bone material to the implant site, in the case of jawbone depletion or deterioration. The new bone sample stimulates the area to heal and regenerate; in a way, it jumpstarts the growth process that’s normally triggered by osseointegration. Osseointegration is needed for implant success, but oftentimes it requires an already existing jawbone foundation for the dental implant to root in. A bone graft procedure can help achieve that very result.
Bone grafts also can be performed in a variety of ways, all depending on the patient’s condition and needs in terms of dental implants. Bone grafts can take the form of bone granules, donated bone, or (if a larger sample is needed), bone taken from another part of the patient’s body. Sometimes, a bone graft can also be performed at the same time as the initial implant surgery.
Soft tissue augmentations, also known as gum grafts, are similar to bone grafts wherein they add new tissue to areas that need a certain volume to support implants. In this case, soft tissue augmentations are meant to replenish the gums, especially the gum areas around the missing tooth site that have receded near the bone or exposed sensitivity. Replenishing this tissue will help protect your dental implant, as well as hide it from plain sight.
A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. If you’ve lost bone in that area due to reasons such as periodontal disease or tooth loss, you may be left without enough bone to place implants.
Sinus lift surgery can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants. Several techniques can be used to raise the sinus and allow for new bone to form. In one common technique, an incision is made to expose the bone. Then a small circle is cut into the bone. This bony piece is lifted into the sinus cavity, much like a trap door, and the space underneath is filled with bone graft material. Your periodontist can explain your options for graft materials, which can regenerate lost bone and tissue.
Finally, the incision is closed and healing is allowed to take place. Depending on your individual needs, the bone usually will be allowed to develop for about four to 12 months before implants can be placed. After the implants are placed, an additional healing period is required. In some cases, the implant can be placed at the same time the sinus is augmented.
Undergoing sinus lift surgery has been shown to greatly increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come. Many patients experience minimal discomfort during this procedure.
Supplemental treatments are not meant to prolong or hinder your implant treatment but instead are designed to improve your chances of dental implant success. Consult with Dr. Matthew Lang if you have one or more missing teeth, and are in need of a long-lasting tooth replacement treatment. These additional treatments can help you and our goal is to better prepare you for the dental implant journey. If you’re looking for Lehigh Valley dental implants, contact our team today.