Bone loss in the jaw can lead to lost teeth. Unfortunately, the same loss of bone that caused the teeth to fall out can also make it difficult to replace them with the preferred option, dental implants. The good news is that although the implant process can't be as straight forward if you are suffering bone loss, there are still two methods that can allow you to replace your missing teeth with dental implants.
The standard method for building bone back up after loss is via bone graft on your jaw. This is a surgical procedure that may need to be repeated more than once depending on the severity of your bone loss and how well your body adjusts to the grafted bone. To be eligible for grafting, you must be in good health and have successfully treated any issues that led to the bone loss, such as periodontal disease. It's also generally recommended to not be an active tobacco user.
The bone used for the graft may come from your own bone tissue, typically the hip, or it could be donor bone from an animal. In some cases, synthetic bone is used. You must fully recover from the bone graft and develop sufficient healthy bone tissue before you can proceed with the surgery necessary to place the conventional implant posts.
For bone loss that is only in the jaw and doesn't affect the rest of the facial bone structure, zygomatic implants are a less invasive technique than bone grafting. For one, you will only need to undergo the one implant placement surgery as opposed to both grafting and a separate implant procedure. Much like grafting, you will need to be good health and the underlying conditions that caused bone loss must be successfully treated.
The implant process for zygomatic implants is similar to that of traditional implants. The main difference is where the implants are placed. Longer posts, often angled, are use to place the implants through the reduced jaw bone and into the stronger bones above the upper mandible or below the lower mandible. Due to the depth of the implants, the recovery period may be slightly longer compared to traditional implants. For a full set replacement, you will likely have four implants placed on top and four on bottom. Once you have successfully healed from the implant process, your dentist will make crowns to fit onto the implant posts.
Contact a dentist that provides dental implants for more information on these options.