woman sitting near window smiling and gazing outsideIf you have lost one or more teeth, dental implants are the best tooth replacement. Dental implants can look and function just like normal teeth. Not only that, but dental implants have the ability to last a lifetime with proper care (though the crowns and bridges atop the implant might need to be replaced every 10-30 years).

You might not be able to get implants, though, if you don’t have enough bone to support them. You might have lost bone after you lost teeth, as a result of gum disease, due to jaw injury, or because of a tumor or cyst.

That’s where bone grafting can help. By replacing lost bone, Southlake oral surgeon Dr. Richard Urbanek has helped many people get beautiful, functional, and long-lasting dental implants. If you decide bone grafting is best, he can help you, too.

Benefits of Bone Grafting

Bone grafting can help many people get better results from tooth replacement. With bone grafting, you will enjoy:

  • More dental implant options
  • Higher dental implant success rate
  • Greater dental implant stability
  • More functional biting and chewing
  • Improved facial appearance

For many people in Southlake, dental implant options are limited without a bone graft. You might not be able to get dental implants at all, or, if you do, the implants you can get will offer limited functionality.

Bone grafting improves your dental implant success rate. It also helps your dental implants to be more secure and stable.

Being able to choose the best dental implant solution for your bite will help you enjoy more functional biting and chewing.

Loss of bone in your face can lead to sunken cheeks, hanging jowls, and other impacts of shrunken bone structure. Tooth replacements that rely on diminished bone often worsen the impact of your initial bone loss.

Alternatives to Bone Grafting

Deciding whether bone grafting is right for you means considering the alternatives to bone grafting in Southlake. If you opt not to get bone grafting, you have essentially four options:

  • No-graft implant solutions
  • Dental bridge
  • Traditional denture
  • No tooth replacement

None of these offer the same benefits as bone grafting, but in some cases, they might be right for you.

No-Graft Implant Solutions

Sometimes you can get dental implants without a bone graft. Placing implants where you don’t have enough bone to support them puts the implant at risk. Some implant solutions, though, are designed to work with less bone. With these implant solutions, you might experience:

  • Limited function
  • Less than a full set of teeth
  • Lower durability
  • Compromised aesthetics

Whenever you’re working with less bone than is ideal, you have to make compromises. The exact nature of the compromise depends on your individual situation. In some cases, this might be the right choice for you.

Dental Bridge

A dental bridge lets you replace a missing tooth using support from your remaining teeth. Normally, we use two dental crowns over natural teeth to support a single replacement tooth. Your dental bridge will initially look attractive and let you bite and chew normally. However, if you continue to lose bone at the site where you lost your tooth, it can create a visible space under your replacement tooth. It also increases the risk of losing the supporting teeth, though this might not be a large increase, depending on the teeth and their location.

Traditional Denture

Traditional dentures don’t depend on your bone. Instead, they just sit on top of your gums. If you are replacing less than a full set of teeth, what we call a partial denture, the denture might also use hooks or clasps around natural teeth for stability. With a traditional denture, you can expect:

  • Diminished bite force
  • Unstable dentures
  • Continued loss of bone mass
  • Aged appearance

Because traditional dentures don’t have the support of your bone, they don’t let you bite as hard as you can with natural teeth or dental implants. Dentures also tend to move around the mouth because they are not firmly anchored.

Without stimulation from teeth or from dental implants, your jaw bone continues to shrink. This contributes to the aged appearance you likely already associate with denture wearers.

FOY® Dentures are more stable, strong, and attractive than other traditional dentures, though they may still fall short of what dental implants give you.

No Tooth Replacement

Of course, you always have the option of not replacing a lost tooth. If you do this, you might experience multiple effects, including:

  • Unattractive smile
  • Drifting teeth
  • Difficulty cleaning teeth
  • Increased risk of losing more teeth

A missing tooth is probably the most noticeable cosmetic concern people have about their smiles. In addition to being noticeable, people have preconceived notions about people who have missing teeth, which can cause them to jump to conclusions about you.

If you have a gap left by a missing tooth, the rest of your teeth may drift into the open space. This can make them crooked and can make it hard to keep your teeth clean. Cleaning problems, drifting, and the increased force on each remaining tooth can increase your risk of losing more teeth in the future.

Talk to a Southlake Dentist about Bone Grafting

Not sure whether bone grafting is right for you? Let Southlake oral surgeon Dr. Urbanek explain the procedure in more detail, helping you understand the benefits it might have in your situation. Please call (817) 587-4566 or use our online contact form today to request an appointment at StarImage Dentistry in Southlake, TX, near the CISD Aquatics Center.