Tooth loss is bad enough. While it has many immediately noticeable effects, it also affects your jawbone. After tooth loss, the bone begins to change. It resorbs due to lack of stimulation, which causes a loss of bone mass and changes in the bone’s shape. If you want to replace your missing teeth with dental implants, you need to have a sufficient amount of bone mass in the jaw to provide support. At Goichi Shiotsu, DDS, we can help to strengthen the jaw and increase the success of dental implants with bone regeneration.
What Causes Tooth Loss to Occur?
Many people who suffer the loss of permanent teeth do so because of gum disease. In advanced stages of the disease, the bacteria begin attacking your jawbone, which leads to both bone loss and the attachment of periodontal ligaments. Because of this, your teeth become unstable and eventually either fallout or need to be extracted. Teeth can also be lost due to trauma or decay. If you do not replace your teeth right away, the bone begins to shrink.
Replacing Missing Bone with a Bone Graft
While dental implants can help to stop bone loss and keep the jaw strong, your jawbone has to be strong enough to support them first. Otherwise, your implants are at a greater risk of failure. If your bone has shrunk too much, we may recommend a bone graft.
A bone graft involves surgery to replace missing bone mass. This is done with either some of your bone, which is taken from another area of your body or with tissue taken from a donor. In some cases, animal bone or synthetic materials may be used. The graft material acts as a sort of scaffold or platform. New bone grows onto the graft, which eventually breaks down as it is replaced. You are then left with a stronger, denser bone into which dental implants can be placed. Using a bone graft, we can help to increase the likelihood that your implants will be strong, stable, and long-lasting.
Guided Bone Regeneration
Following your bone graft, we may do what is called guided bone regeneration. This involves the placement of a mesh barrier that sits over the graft site and separates the bone from your gum tissue. The barrier is typically absorbable, meaning that it will disappear on its own over time rather than having to be removed at a later date. The barrier functions to keep the bone and gum tissues separate. This is because the soft tissue heals faster than the bone.
The barrier prevents the soft tissue from filling in an area of the jaw where bone should be growing. In some cases, tissue-stimulating proteins or platelet rich plasma may also be used. Proteins and platelet rich plasma help to speed up the growth of new bone and soft tissues, expediting the healing process and reducing your risk for complications.
With bone regeneration, we can help to restore strength to your jawbone. This can then help to increase the success of replacing missing teeth with dental implants. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Goichi Shiotsu, DDS at (206) 232-3600 today.