Can You Wait Too Long to Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants?

June 28, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkoo @ 3:27 pm
Two dental implants and crowns against blue background

If you have had missing teeth for several years, you may be all too familiar with the inconveniences that accompany lost dentition. Certainly, you should visit a dental professional to ask about your options. Before you go, though, you might be a little anxious. Could the fact that you have delayed tooth replacement affect your eligibility for a new smile? Can you wait too long to replace missing teeth with dental implants? This blog post discusses the role that timing can play in your tooth replacement journey.

The Consequences of Waiting

The human body is very efficient. When a tooth goes missing, your body senses that the portion of the jawbone that once supported it is no longer necessary. Therefore, a process known as resorption begins. Basically, this means that your body recycles the raw bone material. Eventually, this can cause the jawbone to become quite thin and weak.

A strong, thick, and sturdy jawbone is a requirement for dental implant placement. That is because the implants will integrate with the bone, and the stronger your jaw is, the sturdier and more reliable your new teeth will be.

To keep resorption to a minimum, most dentists recommend that dental implant placement be performed as soon as possible after a tooth extraction. If you wait too long, your jawbone may become incapable of supporting implants.

Does that mean, then, that you can miss out on your chance to get dental implants if you wait too long to start treatment? Not necessarily.

A Bone Graft Can Help

Even if it has been many years since you lost your natural teeth, it is still worth your time to visit an implant dentist. After they perform an examination, they might inform you that you need a bone graft.

A bone graft is an oral surgery that involves placing new bone material on a weakened or thin jaw. The details of the procedure can vary. For example, it may involve donor bone, artificial bone material, or bone from another place in your body. It could require the placement of a block of bone or some bone granules. In any case, the grafted material should eventually integrate with your existing jawbone, resulting in an excellent setting for dental implants.

Depending on the extent of your bone loss, you might be able to get implants on the same day as your bone graft. In most cases, though, a waiting period of at least a few months is necessary.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of how long you have been missing your natural teeth, it is likely that you can get dental implants. Your treatment process might just be a little more complex than that of patients who received implants sooner.

Meet the Practice

Drs. Steve Koo, William Shepard, and Thomas Weil are proud to provide advanced dental implant services to the Houston community, including bone grafting. If you are curious about what it would take for you to replace your lost teeth, they are ready to consult with you. Get in touch with us at 713-597-7340.

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