If you like the idea of implant dentures, but have concerns over needing a bone graft, you should talk to your dentist about the method that attaches each plate with only four implants. The implants are placed in such a way that they can be used in areas with thinning bone. Here's a look at how it works.
Problems With Bone Loss
If you've worn dentures for a while or had missing teeth for a long time, you probably have bone loss. That's because the roots of your teeth stimulate bone growth, and when your teeth are missing, bone loss sets in. Certain parts of your jaw, such as under the sinuses or on the lower jaw ridge, don't have much bone to start with, so this makes placing an implant difficult. In order for the implant to fuse with the bone, there must be an ample supply of healthy bone. To obtain this, your dentist may need to do a bone graft before inserting the implant. However, in certain cases, there may be a way to avoid the need for grafting bone.
Using Angled Implants
The technique developed that uses only four implants uses two implants that are longer than usual. These longer implants are inserted in areas of thin bone such as the back of the lower jaw. They are inserted at an angle. This actually increases the contact of the implant with the bone, so there is increased fusion between the two. With these two very stable inserts on the ends of the lower jaw and two more inserts in the middle, a full lower row of teeth is able to be held securely in place.
You can get a full set of upper and lower dentures with only eight implants using this method. The benefit is you can avoid bone graft surgery and avoid the need for a large number of implants to hold the plates secure. This procedure is often used in same-day denture implant clinics. You can have your current dentures adapted to fit the implants or you can get new dentures at the same time. While you may be able to leave the same day with a new set of teeth, it may actually require a follow up visit to adjust the dentures for a more comfortable fit. Plus, it will take weeks or months for the fusion of bone and implant to be complete.
Using as few implants as possible has its benefits if it is an option for you. There are different methods for getting dental implants, and the method your dentist recommends is based on your general health and the condition of your jaw and oral health. Start with a consultation, and you may be happy to learn it's possible to get implants without a bone graft even when you have some bone loss.