Can You Get Dental Implants If You'Ve Been Missing Teeth For A Long Time?
If you're missing one or more teeth and are looking for a permanent solution, you may have stumbled across dental implants. You might have also discovered that people who have been missing their teeth for a long time aren't good candidates for dental implants. The good news is, even with bone loss, you can probably still get a form of dental implant. Read on to learn more about why standard dental implants might not be a good fit for you and what alternatives you have.
Why Long-Term Missing Teeth Can Be a Problem
If you've been missing your teeth for a long time, there's a strong likelihood that you've experienced bone loss in your jaw. When teeth are missing, bones tend to become weakened, losing density over time. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult or downright impossible for dentists to install standard dental implants. Without sufficient density, your jaw bone won't be able to support a dental implant properly. In fact, if a jaw bone is too weak or thin, it could actually crack in the effort to place a standard dental implant. Due to this, dentists will perform physical exams and x-rays prior to even considering installing standard dental implants. If your bones are too weak, your dentist will refuse to give you a standard implant.
Why Dentures and Bridges Aren't Sufficient
If you have had dentures or a bridge replacing your missing teeth, you might be wondering if that is enough to keep your jaw strong. Unfortunately, the answer is typically no. Dentures and dental bridges apply pressure onto the top layer of your gumline when you bite down and chew, but not beneath the gumline where the jaw is. This pressure is what helps to keep the jaw constantly rebuilding the bone and maintaining a high density. Without that deep pressure, chances are your jaw has weakened.
Thankfully, standard dental implants aren't your only option; there's an alternative called a mini dental implant that may work for you. Mini dental implants are designed to be a great way to replace teeth and harness dentures or bridges just like standard dental implants. The only difference is that they're much smaller than traditional implants.
A smaller implant means that a smaller hole will be placed in your jaw, and your bones don't have to have as high a density to support the implant. The smaller the implant, the less strain there is. Thankfully, while standard implants are up to 5.8 mm wide, mini dental implants range from 1.8 mm to 3.3mm.
If you want to have implants installed to make your existing bridge or dentures more permanent or to have new teeth installed, mini dental implants may be the solution you're looking for. Talk to your dentist about whether you're a good candidate for mini dental implants. Check out places like Kappenman Family Dental for more information.