Every month we write several blogs in hopes of informing you about dental services that we provide. Our hope is that if you should need a service that you will have the information you need to ask questions.
We have written more than once about the benefits of dental implants for our patients. If you live in or near Kennewick, WA, we also hope you see Marineland Dental Care as a place where you can get them.
Unfortunately, some people don’t have sufficient bone left in their jaws to hold implants securely in place. Thankfully, there are other ways to help. One of them is mini implants.
Tooth Loss Leads To Bone Loss
Your jawbone and your teeth have a mutually supportive relationship. The jawbone provides security and stability. Your teeth prod your jawbone to keep growing.
Sounds like a healthy relationship to us.
When you lose teeth, your jawbone loses the stimulation that it needs to signal it to create new tissue. Over time, you will lose bone mass and density. A part of your mouth without a tooth can lose up to one-quarter of its bone mass within 12 months.
Over time, continued bone loss can affect neighboring teeth as well.
If you are missing most or all of your teeth, then you can lose bone mass throughout your jaw. Even if you have dentures, the bone loss can continue for one simple reason. You don’t have anything in your jaw to recreate the pressure and stimulation that your jawbone received from the roots of your teeth.
You are familiar with prosthetic body parts, and researchers are continuing to develop newer and better replacement parts.
Take legs for instance. You are familiar with old depictions of pirates with “peg legs.” Today, someone who is missing part of a leg can get a prosthetic leg that allows them to walk quite naturally.
Within the field of athletics, they have even developed prosthetics that allows people to run at top speeds in spite of not have complete legs.
In dentistry, dental implants are a prosthetic root. Implants are made of titanium, which is valuable because it goes through a process called osseointegration. As the implants press into your jawbone (when you bite or chew), this encourages new, healthy bone growth to replace older tissues.
These new tissues form around the implant just as they formed around the roots before you lost your teeth.
Bone For Your Implants
Problems can arise when you wait years before deciding to replace a missing tooth or teeth. If you lose too much bone mass during that time, then you may not have enough to support dental implants.
This is the irony of the situation. Dental implants can help you keep your jawbone healthy, but if you don’t have enough bone, you may not be able to get implants.
That’s not entirely true.
One way to prepare your jawbone to receive dental implants is through a bone graft.
This is a procedure in which bone is transplanted into your jaw. When the transplanted bone is placed next to the part of your jaw that has insufficient bone, those bone tissue will growth together.
With time, you will heal from the procedure, and you will have enough bone to support your dental implants.
This can be a drawn out process, and you may be looking for improvements in less time. This is when we can offer mini implants instead.
Mini implants are like regular implants with a smaller circumference. As a result, they can be placed into bone many times when traditional implants could not be supported.
Mini implants won’t help you regrow the bone that you have lost, but they can help you sustain the bone that you have left.
What Can Mini Implants Do?
They can do the same things that regular implants can.
If you need to replace a single tooth, a mini implant can support a dental crown. People who want a dental bridge can place that on a few mini implants to get support comparable to full-sized implants.
And if you have been considering implant-supported dentures, mini implants can help you, too. A series of mini implants can secure a set of dentures in your mouth.
Getting smaller seems to be a normal progression in technology. The original computers needed rooms to house them. Now, we can carry computers (smartphones) in our pockets.
If you have been told that you don’t have enough bone for dental implants, make an appointment at Marineland Dental Care. Mini implants have created new opportunities at our dentist office in Kennewick, WA.