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Dental Implants and Bone Regeneration

Dental Implants and Bone Regeneration
Published Sep 01, 2020

Perhaps the most crucial stage of getting a dental implant is called “osseointegration”. This is when the dental implant fuses to the bone around it. It’s this process that makes the dental implant effective as an artificial tooth root.

But what if there’s not enough bone to secure the implant in place?

Dentists may be able to perform a bone regeneration procedure. This is a periodontal surgery that dentists can perform which can regrow enough bone to support a dental implant.

Let’s find out more.

What Causes Jawbone Loss?

The two most common reasons jawbone volume might not be sufficient are:

•  Periodontal disease, where an infection has eaten away at the jawbone.

•  A tooth has been missing from the jaw for so long the “pocket” has collapsed and there’s not enough bone where the implant needs to go.

What Is the Bone Regeneration Process?

Bone regeneration works by exploiting the body’s natural healing and cell growth processes to produce more bone in the desired area. This involves two key steps.

Firstly, any plaque or tartar is removed from below the gum line. It’s important that any bacterial build up is removed before attempting regeneration.

Secondly, a bio-compatible barrier is inserted between the gum and jawbone. This serves two purposes

•   Prevent the gum from growing into the jawbone, which would prevent the bone from growing

•   Encourage the jawbone to grow

By giving the jawbone space to grow into, without interference from the soft tissues, bone volume can naturally be increased.

How Successful is Bone Regeneration?

Success rates will depend on several factors.

Age and general health will play a part. How long there has been a lack of volume in the target area can also affect success rates.

Following post-operative care instructions following bone regeneration surgery will also greatly increase the chances of success.

Alternatives to Bone Regeneration

Bone regeneration is just one way dentists can increase bone volume in the jaw prior to a dental implant procedure.

The other most common method is bone grafting. This involves taking bone from elsewhere in the body and grafting it to the jaw. The grafted bone forms a bridge to the jawbone which strengthens the bone and encourages growth. Over time, the jawbone can overgrow the grafted bone and replace it.

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