How Bone Loss Impacts Dental Implants

How Bone Loss Impacts Dental Implants

Why healthy bone is necessary for implant placement, and how bone grafts can help

Implant procedures are becoming more routine than ever for replacing a missing tooth. As we have mentioned before, in our Dental Centre Bedford blogs these offer a strength and longevity that no other tooth replacement method can equal.

It is worth remembering though, that although the procedure is more widely used, certain conditions have to exist in order for the implant to be placed and remain healthy.

For example, smokers and drinkers who refuse to stop for several months are not ideal candidates for this treatment. The increased risk of periodontitis means that the titanium implant may not bond successfully with the bone and may well fail altogether.

Whilst implants are suitable for the majority, there are other categories of people who may not be suitable, and one of those is where there is bone loss in the jaw area.

What causes bone loss?

Both smoking and significant alcohol consumption can contribute to bone loss. Whilst these habits are largely avoidable, loss of bone density also occurs when a tooth is lost. As one of the main roles of the jawbone is to hold teeth in place, when a tooth is no longer present, bone is re-absorbed and its resources are then used elsewhere in the body.

Because the titanium implant requires sufficient healthy bone for placement, this can create a problem for the patient, so a bone graft procedure is necessary before treatment can proceed.

Bone grafts

In order to provide sufficient bone for the implant to be placed, some patients may need to undergo a prior procedure known as a bone graft. This involves the removal of a small piece of bone from elsewhere in the body, or the use of artificial bone material which is then grafted on to the existing bone and allowed to bond with it. The process can take between four and six months, and good care will be needed to help it heal. Our Bedford implant dentists will be able to advise about this during your consultation. Once the bone has successfully bonded, it should be possible to proceed to place your dental implant.


Even though the bone in your jaw may have been restored, making it suitable for an implant, it is important to remember that without adequate care, the bone could once more start to degrade. Good general oral health care at home, including brushing and flossing, as well as seeing our Bedford hygienist for a scale and polish every six months are great ways to start.

If you smoke, you should cease as this will help to reduce the risk of gum disease and subsequent failure of your implant.

If you would like us to asses if you are a suitable candidate for teeth implants, please contact The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868.