When you lose a tooth due to an injury or tooth decay, you need to fill up the vacant position. Dental implants are by far the most advanced way to make up for a missing tooth. However, you might hear your doctor say, “You don’t have enough bone density in teeth” or “We need to get it done before you lose any more of your bone density in teeth.”
This is where you need to know a little about bone density, dental bone loss and how dental implants work.
Let’s start with bone density of teeth.
Bone density of teeth is calculated based on the available amount of calcium and other important minerals in the teeth, which determines the strength of the teeth. The less density you have, the more your teeth are prone to decay and degeneration.
Now, what is a dental bone loss?
When you have low bone density, your teeth gradually starts decaying. This causes cavity and other issues which might lead to a loss of tooth. When you lose a tooth, the bone density near the jaw also decreases; in other words, the area suffers from dental bone loss. This is because, when the body no longer receives a healthy signal from the lost tooth, it absorbs extra calcium from the jaw bone to use it in other parts of the body. It does not weaken the jaw; now your jaw doesn’t have the additional density to hold a tooth.
Now you need to know how dental implants work.
First, a space is made in your jaw by drilling into it using a dental tool so that the dental implants can be inserted.
A titanium anchor (it looks like a screw) and a post are inserted into the newly made hole. The dentists are now prepping you for your dental implants.
The anchor goes inside while the post sticks out which is then removed.
The anchor slowly settles in. The jaw bone grows around it and the anchor naturally fuses with it. It takes a couple of months.
A new tooth or dental implant (biological or chemical implant) is set over the anchor using a connector called an abutment.
Once your dental implants are done, it only takes a couple of days to heal.
So why is dental bone loss a concern in dental implants?
Once you lose your tooth, your jaw can loss bone density very fast – as fast as up to 25% in the first year. This is why you need to act fast.
What happens when you have a low bone density is that, your jaw becomes too weak to take the ‘drilling’. It runs the risk of unwanted damage. Additionally, a bone which is less dense, heals slowly. Because of that it would take longer for the anchor to set in your jaw. The hold on the anchor will be weak. This might result in falling of the implant prematurely. With too less density, it can reject taking the anchor entirely and the procedure of dental implants will fail.
How can you increase bone density to get dental implants?
The best idea here is to get the dental implants done as soon as possible after the loss of the tooth. This way, there is no chance of tooth loss. Some people try dentures until they get dental implants. This causes further damage to the alveolar ridge (the portion connecting the teeth to the jaws), accelerating the rate of dental bone loss.
One way to deal with low dental bone density is to get a smaller implant, i.e. a smaller tooth. Since the size is small, less dense bone will be able to handle it. The small tooth can be topped on by dental implants. It’s strength will be nearly 70% as good as a full-sized dental implant.
To get full-sized dental implants when you have low bone density, your option is to increase the bone density first. For that, you will need a bone grafting. During a bone grafting procedure, a thin layer of bone from another part of your jaw or hip or shin is extracted and grafted in the required area. The grafted bone merges with the jaw bone and increases the bone density. Alternatively, an artificial bone material can also be injected which will work as the basis for holding the dental implant.
If you need more clarity on bone density and dental implants, you can walk into our clinic and our orthodontists will be more than happy to understand your condition and explain things to you in a more personalised manner.
About Dr. Gowtham Kattamuri
Dr. Gowtham has done his BDS from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in 2006 and MDS – Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics from Dr. MGR Medical University in 2010. He is a skilled Endodontist with an experience of over 10 years. Dr. Gowtham is specialized in replacement of teeth, Root Canal, Braces, Dental Implants, prosthetics for maxillofacial defects such as artificial eye, ear, nose and orbital defects, Smile Makeovers with laminates, Zirconia, veneers metal free ceramics. He also performs general dental procedures such as restorations and extractions. He also is trained as an International Patient Coordinator.
ABOUT THE CLINIC:
GA Dental Clinics is a standout amongst the all the famous dental hospitals in Hyderabad, owing to the world class infrastructure it has, and the utility of leading edge technology at the clinic. Besides its unique infrastructure and highly qualified specialists, GA Dental Clinic in Hyderabad believes in delivering services at par with global standards.