3 Potential Solutions For Insufficient Bone For Dental Implants

Posted on: 17 April 2015

Dental implants offer the most stability out of the common tooth replacement options. That's because the common type of implant starts with a metal root fitted directly into the jawbone. But fitting that root securely requires healthy bone with enough thickness and width to accommodate the root.

There are a few reasons why your jawbone in the replacement area might not meet the qualifications for an implant. But that doesn't mean you need to look at other replacement options. There are a few potential solutions for insufficient bone that might solve your problem:

Bone Graft

If the jawbone has weakened due to deterioration, your dentist can build the bone back up using a bone graft. The graft procedure typically removes a section a bone from elsewhere in your mouth – such as the roof – and attaches it to the weakened area.

Your dentist will access the bone through your gums, place the graft, and stitch the gums back closed. During the healing process, your tissue and bone will fuse with and around the graft. Once the fusing has finished, the dental implant procedure can begin.

Sinus Augmentation

Missing a tooth in the rear of your upper jaw? The bone there is naturally thinner to accommodate for the nearby sinus canal. So dental implants in this area are tricky and potentially dangerous if the sinus is in the way.

A sinus augmentation is similar to a bone graft except the sinus needs to be moved before the graft bone is placed. Your dentist will access the jawbone through the gums, drill a small hole to access the sinus, and then lift the sinus up and away from the bone in that area.

The graft bone is then inserted into the hole made by the moved sinus canal. This holds the canal in its new location and begins the bone fusing process.

Subperiosteal Implant

Your bone can be too damaged, narrow, or shallow for an implant root. But it's still possible to get your replacement tooth thanks to subperiosteal implants.

Instead of placing the root into the jawbone, a subperiosteal implant has a metal plate that fits over the bone and below the gums. The healed gums are what fuses the plate into place.

This type of implant is less stable than the in-bone type particularly if you have recurring problems with your gums. But subperiosteal implants do work well for many patients.  Talk to your dentist about whether this is a good fit for you.