WHY DO PEOPLE LOSE TEETH?
People generally lose teeth for two reasons – either a tooth is decayed past the point of being able to save with a filling or crown (with or without a root canal), or the bone and gum structure surrounding a tooth weakened due to periodontal disease (gum disease) and the tooth could no longer be saved and maintained.
WHY DOES BONE MATTER?
When tooth loss is caused by periodontal disease and bone loss, there is often not enough bone left in the area to place an implant where the tooth once was. In addition, if a patient has a tooth extracted, there are situations where bone loss does occur at the same time as the extraction due to the nature of the problem with the tooth.
The reason that bone level is so important when it comes to dental implants is that one needs sufficient bone available to hold the implant in place. If there is no bone available, then the implant has no way to stabilize in the jaw.
DO I NEED A BONE GRAFT?
Not every patient who wants to have dental implants will require a bone graft. One of the diagnostic steps Dr. Luminita Markham takes when she evaluates a patient for dental implants is to examine the amount of bone present and determine, in coordination with the oral surgeon, if a bone graft is necessary. If a bone graft is needed, a common approach is to plan ahead and have a bone graft placed at the time of extraction and/or at the time of implant placement.
For example, if you have a tooth that cannot be saved, it often makes sense to place a bone graft at the time of extraction so that the area heals with the bone graft already in place. Bone grafts can be done at a later date, but it’s usually easier for the patient if the bone graft is done at the time of extraction because the patient (a) does not have to come in for a second procedure, and (b) because having the graft done earlier speeds up the implant process.
If you have questions about dental implants, or if you want to find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, Dr. Luminita Markham offers a complimentary implant consultation. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment at (530) 823-8771.