If you have a gap in your teeth, the best dental implants Houston can provide are the perfect solution, both for your bite and for your smile. More and more people are choosing implants as tooth replacements nowadays, in preference to bridges or dentures. Implants are more natural looking and more permanent — in fact they feel, look and function exactly like real teeth.
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots, which are surgically inserted into the jaw. The root integrates with the jawbone, providing a firm anchor in which the tooth restoration can be placed. The implants are made of metal, usually titanium, or titanium zirconium.
However, for an implant to be successful, you must have a sufficient amount of bone in your jaw to support the implant, and this bone must not be too soft. The oral surgeon needs to ensure that there is a least 1 mm of bone all around the implant, in order to form a solid base. If there is not enough bone to envelop the implant, a bone graft will be necessary.
There are quite a number of reasons why a patient may not have enough bone to support a dental implant. The problem could be caused by periodontal disease, dental decay and infection, or an injury or trauma, or could simply be due to having worn dentures for a long time. Until recently, it was assumed that if you didn’t have sufficient bone, you simply weren’t a suitable candidate for dental implants, but now bone grafts have become a perfectly routine and painless process for restoring your jaw.
A bone graft will be either a major or minor procedure, depending on how much bone you need. If there is enough bone in the jaw for placing the implant, but not enough to cover the sides of the implant completely, it is likely to be a minor procedure, which can be done at the same time as the implant. The oral surgeon will probably take the bone from your chin, or from the back of your lower jaw.
If a lot of bone is needed — for instance, if you are having several implants, not just a single one — the oral and maxillofacial surgeons have the option of taking the bone from another part of your body. The best choice is the hip, as it has plenty of bone mass. This is a major procedure, and can’t be done at the same time as the implant, as it requires an overnight stay in hospital and a general anesthetic. However, instead of using your own bone, the oral and maxillofacial surgeons may use bone from a human donor, or possibly from an animal, and your body eventually replaces these grafts with natural bone.
Wherever it comes from, the grafted bone is anchored in place with small titanium screws, and the surgeon will place a mixture of your own bone marrow and other material, such as bone shavings, round the edge of the bone block. Then a membrane is placed over the graft and the incision is closed. A major graft needs 6-9 months to fuse with the existing bone, before the implant can be put in place.
Because the dental implants Houston oral surgeons provide have such strong and lasting tooth replacements, a bone graft can be very worthwhile if it helps to make the procedure possible. Of course, if you are considering an implant, it is essential to discuss all the possible options, and their pros and cons, with your dentist before deciding. However, you can be sure that, with advanced technology and surgical expertise, oral and maxillofacial surgeons can help you smile with confidence once again.