When You Need A Dental Implant But Don't Have Adequate Bone Support

Posted on: 2 July 2021

For the best chance of success, a dental implant is placed as soon as possible as a tooth is lost. How does the amount of time that a tooth is lost play a role in the placement of a dental implant? 

Ongoing Pressure

Teeth experience a high degree of pressure each day. This is predominantly bite pressure, and this pressure is absorbed by both the tooth and its support structure. When a tooth is lost, the bone immediately beneath it is no longer subjected to ongoing pressure. As such, it can lose some of its density. 

Inadequate Bone

The loss of density can be an issue when a dental implant is placed. Inadequate bone can prevent osseointegration, which is when the implant fuses to the bone in order to create an anchor or a functional artificial tooth root. Since this is a common problem, there are a number of ways to overcome this lack of bone density.


Some patients can receive bone grafting, which is when bone tissue is manually added to the deficient section of your jaw. This grafting material can be taken from a donor (human or compatible animal, typically bovine) or a synthetic substitute. It can also be taken from your own body. However, for some patients, a lack of density doesn't mean that grafting is essential before an implant can be placed.

Mini Implants

If the tooth to be replaced has been absent for some time, ask your dentist if you're a suitable candidate for a mini dental implant. This is, as the name suggests, an implant that's smaller than the typical endosteal implant. Since it has reduced dimensions, it requires less bone tissue to achieve the necessary stability. The less invasive nature of the implant placement means that less recovery time is needed when compared to a full-size implant. This is simply because less tissue is disrupted by the implantation.

Your suitability for a mini implant depends on the type of tooth to be replaced and the subsequent amount of bite pressure that the completed implant will be subjected to and your overall dental health. Mini dental implants are generally only effective in patients whose teeth and oral health (aside from the missing tooth to be replaced) are already in a good condition.

Adequate bone tissue is mandatory for a conventional endosteal dental implant. When your jaw is lacking the necessary density, this can be overcome with bone grafting or a mini implant. Reach out to a professional for more information about dental implants