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“I was told I am not a candidate for dental implants because I have too much bone loss”

 This is a common statement I hear from patients.  While it’s true there are some patients that have anatomical situations that are not amenable to dental implant placement, that situation is not as prevalent as one may think.

Several years ago, dental implants had different designs and the concept “longer is better” reigned when it came to implants.  As technology improves, implants are able to be shorter and narrower and as a result can be placed into a variety of situations that were once not possible.   We now have dental implants that measure as small as 3x6mm and 4x5mm, and these implants are able to support crowns significantly bigger than they are themselves.

In addition, biological materials and techniques are advancing as fast as the implant technology.  We are starting to understand how to better utilize growth factors, with products like BMP (bone morphogenic protein), in order to achieve bone growth in sites previously not possible  or in situations thought too difficult.  In the past, in order to attain enough increase in bone volume for dental implants, bone grafts from the hip were common place.   A graft would have to be harvested and then placed where needed, the patient would wait 6-9 months, and then hopefully, they would have enough bone to place implants.  While there are extreme situations where extensive grafting may be required, this is no longer common place, at least not in our offices.

In our practice, we see the most difficult dental implant cases or the cases that other doctors don’t want to do, and it’s now easier to successfully restore even the challenging situations than it ever has been.   It’s not that magically the patients no longer have bone loss after years of not having teeth or dental neglect.  It’s that we are utilizing what technology and biological sciences provide us to make these cases easier, better and overall improve patient satisfaction.  So, if your dentist, periodontist or another oral surgeon tell you that the case it’s too difficult, I can’t tell you that they’re not telling you the honest truth, but I can tell you that it may be worth seeking another opinion before you give up.