How Your Jawbone Health Affects the Selection of Your Dental Implant

The state of your jawbone can determine the type of dental implant that your dentist may recommend to restore your lost tooth. Here is a bit of information about dental implants and why certain types of these devices may be more suitable based on the patient's jawbone.

How Are Dental Implants Positioned in the Bone?

During a relatively simple surgical procedure, a dentist inserts an implant into the bone through an incision in the gums. The wound from the implant's placement requires a few months to heal, but once the healing is complete, the dental implant has fused with the bone tissue.

When Is a Traditional Dental Implant Used?

A traditional dental implant can be applied when the patient's jawbone is healthy and thick. The bone must be able to support the length and diameter of the inserted device. For some dental patients, their jawbone has already atrophied. The shrinkage often occurs when a lost tooth is not expediently replaced. With no tooth in place to relay stimulating bite force to the jawbone, fewer bone cells are produced, and the jawbone's girth declines.

If the jawbone's thickness is insufficient for the insertion of a traditional implant, the dentist may offer a bone graft. The grafting procedure includes the addition of harvested bone to the jawbone. The addition of the graft incites the production of new jawbone cells.

When Is a Miniature Dental Implant Used?

If a bone graft is not desired or recommended, the dentist may offer the patient the option of using a miniature dental implant. The mini implant is thinner and shorter than a traditional implant. Thus, it can be applied to a thinner jawbone.

When Is a Zygomatic Dental Implant Used?

If the jawbone's density is insufficient to secure a traditional implant, the dentist may choose to bypass the jawbone and secure the implant in the bone of the cheek. A zygomatic implant is placed in the zygoma bone, which is commonly called the cheekbone. 

Because the reach of an implant that is secured in the cheekbone must extend further,  the zygomatic implant is quite a bit longer than its traditional counterpart. Still, even though it rests in a different bone, a zygomatic implant still undergoes osseointegration, which is the healing process that results in the implant's fusion with the bone tissue. 

To learn more about your jawbone's health and how it affects your dental implant choices, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.