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Severe Bone Loss and Dental Implants: Is it Possible?

Severe bone loss can pose a problem with dental implants. However, advances in orthodontics within the last few years may just make it possible. Read more.

Tootlessness, or officially known as edentulism, is a chronic disease. Caused by a number of varying factors, including negligent oral hygiene, the disease is associated with significant rates of morbidity and related health issues.

Despite the health risks associated with edentulism, more than 36 million people in the United States (across all ages) are completely edentulous. Besides these, more than 120 million have at least one tooth missing. According to the American College of Prosthodontics, a majority of the people suffering some form of edentulism belong to the American geriatric population and the economically disadvantaged.

While many edentulous individuals seek dental treatment in the form of dental implants and dentures, there are some for whom limitations exist. These are those who have suffered severe bone loss or maxillary osteomalacia, trauma, surgical resection or atrophy. Conventional dental implants can’t be placed as their jaw lacks the bone density for the metal implant to fuse with.

While this reinstates the importance of seeking prompt dental and medical help after tooth loss, there are ways and techniques that can be used instead of conventional dental implant placement.

The following are some of the common procedures one can get to facilitate dental implant placement with severe bone loss.


Bone Grafting – Autogenous

Grafting is one of the most common treatments for those with edentulism. As the name suggests, the procedure involved grafting bone from another part of your body to replace the missing bone.

Autogenous bone grafts are sourced from the patient’s own body. The cells in the autograft come from the patient’s own body, increasing the effectiveness of the cells’ transformation. These cells begin healing the treatment area. The graft typically comes from the chin.

Among other procedures, bone grafting is one of the more surgically invasive ones. It also has a longer recovery time.

Bone Grafting – Allografting

An allograft is the opposite of an autogenous graft. The graft is human bone, sourced from a donor other than the patient. The placement of the graft is similar to autogenous bone grafting. The cells in the graft stimulate the growth of new cells in the placement area.

Since the bone graft doesn’t need to be sourced from the patient’s body, the procedure is relatively less invasive and has a faster recovery time.

Synthetic Grafting

If a bone transplant is not a viable possibility for a patient, they have an option to get a synthetic bone graft. Some of the developments in the field of orthodontics have led to the creation of bone-substitute material. The process of grafting the material in the treatment area is the same.

For example, grafting is often the first suggestion orthodontists in Hyattsville make when a patient requires scaffolding in the treatment area due to severe edentulism. It must be noted that bone grafting is not a quick procedure. It takes a few months for the bone to assimilate and bond strong enough to support a dental implant.

All-on-4 Dental Implants

All-on-4 is a prosthodontic procedure that means that all teeth are supported on four dental implants. It is a revolutionary surgical procedure that benefits those who experience complete edentulism on both or either jaw. This procedure is also effective for those who have severe bone loss.

The procedure restores approximately 80% of the patient’s chewing ability and delivers results the closest to natural teeth as possible. This shows that not only is this treatment option aesthetically pleasing but also effective.

In order to provide proper support, the surgeon will find four spots on with the most bone density to support dental implants. In some cases, the number of implants can be 5 or 6. The goal is stable support for the full denture.

Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic dental implants are one of the most effective treatments for edentulism. Instead of trying to add bone density and then fix an implant in the bone underneath the gums, this technique places the implants in other regions. The body of zygomatic implants is unthreaded to allow better support in the soft tissue region.

Among other options available to patients suffering from severe bone loss, zygomatic implants have proven to be highly effective. Instead of undergoing surgery and bone grafts, these implants are placed in the cheekbone. The implants are longer than conventional dental implants so they can go past the upper jaw. Zygomatic implants are often used alongside regular implants, which as placed in the front of the jaw.

Placement of zygomatic implants also requires surgery. However, the surgery is not as invasive and much short compared to bone grafting.

Other Procedures

The abovementioned options are the most commonly used treatment procedure used to treat edentulism. However, they are not the only options available. Depending on the level of bone loss and damage, a sinus lift or maxillary sinus floor augmentation may also be a possible solution.

A sinus lift is a surgical procedure that ensures the upper jawbone or the posterior maxilla has enough bone for dental implant placement later on. The sinus membrane is lifted to make room for bone near the region where the molars and premolars are. After the lift, a bone graft is used to add bone density to the area. The graft can come from you, a donor or it can be a synthetic graft.

Final Words

According to Dental implants in Hyattsville, bone loss or edentulism is a chronic condition. If not treated properly and promptly, it can lead to serious implications. You don’t only risk infections and advanced bone loss and damage in your jawbone, you won’t be able to chew and digest food properly. And let’s not forget that it may have a negative impact on your confidence.

Prosthodontics offers several effective treatments that can help restore your smile back to its glorious self. If you have lost a tooth, seek dental help. Whether you have severe bone loss or not, you must get it assessed as soon as possible.

Your dentist will suggest treatment for the cause of bone loss and help you determine which treatment is a better option for you. In order to ensure you receive effective treatment, make sure you find the best prosthodontist in your area.

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