As many long-term denture wearers recognize, the jawbone wears away over time. This phenomenon, known as resorption, occurs because the teeth’s roots are no longer available to offer stability to the structural bone.
Dental implants are structurally sound because they fuse with the jawbone over the course of several months. However, that osseointegration process requires that patients have a sufficient amount of bone to sustain it. If not, then more significant additional procedures need to be done to regain that bone. It may seem, then, that patients who have worn dentures for several years may not be candidates for dental implants. However, a certain strategy can help those individuals take advantage of the many benefits of implants.
The bone erodes more quickly at the rear of the jaw, meaning that the front of the jaw stays intact longer. This pattern gives the oral surgeon an opportunity to place the implants in specific locations that maximize the available bone. A technique known as All-on-4, uses a quartet of dental implants situated at the front of the jaw to anchor a prosthetic arch of replacement teeth.
With All-on-4, nearly all patients qualify for dental implants, even those with significant jawbone atrophy.
For those rare patients whose cases are not appropriate for the All-on-4 technique, the oral surgeon still should be able to perform a bone graft to provide supplemental bone to support the implants. In this procedure, the surgeon will take bone from elsewhere in the body, such as the chin or hip, and place it in the jaw to give a boost to the remaining bone there. After the patient heals from the bone graft, the dental implants can be placed.
Have you had your dentures for years? Don’t write off the possibility of dental implants just yet. Talk to Dr. Steven Koos, your Chicago Illinois oral surgeons, about All-on-4 dental implants or, if necessary, a bone graft prior to dental implant placement. You should still be able to take advantage of this modern dental technology. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your professional consultation today.