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Preparing your jaw for dental implants

A patient who will be working with their doctor to prepare for dental implants

Dental implants can be the most effective, longest-lasting solution for replacing missing teeth–but depending on how long you have had gaps in your smile, your jawbone may require preparation prior to implant placement.

In this post, we’ll explain what happens to your jaw when you are missing teeth and what your oral surgeon can do to strengthen and repair the bone to make you a good candidate for implants.

Understanding bone loss

Gaps in your teeth can lead to other oral health concerns, including drifting teeth, additional tooth loss and bone deterioration. Your bone deteriorates because new bone growth is stimulated by the roots of your teeth. When you chew using your natural teeth, the pressure of every bite travels down the tooth to the root. This pressure tells your body to regenerate new bone tissue. When a tooth is missing, the section of jawbone under the gap no longer gets the signal to grow. Over time, this causes the bone to slowly shrink.

Bone grafts strengthen and enlarge your jaw

The most common procedure for fixing the problem of bone loss is a bone graft. This surgical procedure involves filling the gap in your jaw with bone tissue from the patient’s body or an artificial substitute.

Once your socket has been filled with bone or bone-like tissue, your body will recognize the need to replace this material with all-new, natural bone tissue. While it will take some time to complete the process, your body has the ability to completely regenerate the jawbone where the bone graft was placed. This process adds both volume and density to the jawbone. Once healed, a dental implant can be placed.

Do I need a bone graft?

To find out if you are a good candidate for dental implants and determine which, if any, jaw preparation is required prior to surgery, schedule an appointment with your oral surgeon for a full consultation and examination.

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