How Much Bone is Needed to Place a Dental Implant?

I have a fixed retainer behind my lower 6 front teeth. Some bone loss has occured under the retainer. I don't believe that I have had any more infections, but now my teeth have tipped forward. Has this been caused by more bone loss? I'm young and don't want dentures. Could implants be placed if there is at least 50% bone loss? How much bone is needed for an implant? I was told that I don't have any pockets. I can feel pressure on some of my teeth if I push them forward.

Doctor Answers 10

Dental Implants

The first thing you have to see is if you really need dental implants. Sometimes after having braces you think your teeth are pushed forward and that they have moved. A good indication to see if your teeth have moved forward is space between your teeth. If your teeth are still tight then chances are they are ok. If you feel that your teeth are loose the first thing we have to check is your bite. We have a computerized way of checking your bite with a device called a T-scan. This allows us to make sure your bite has not changed or is not putting any unnecessary force on any one tooth.  

Once you have ruled out all possible infections or pathologies, then we need to determine why you are losing bone. 

50% bone loss in a horizontal fashion is not a problem as long as it is maintained. 

Don't think implants yet until the cause of the problem if any is identified.

Teeth mobility and dental implants evaluation.

Teeth movement can often occur due to periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is usually not something that can ever be cured, but we can manage it to drastically slow down the destruction of bone.  The only way to tell what shape your bone is in and how much is remaining around teeth is to have a complete exam with x-rays and periodontal probing.  A complete assessment by a dentist should be the first step to understanding what’s happening.

Implants can be placed in patients with bone loss.  Sometimes bone grafts are necessary.  They should only be placed once any existing gum conditions are under control.  Please seek a consultation with a trusted dentist to see if implants are a good option for you.

Good Luck!

Peter Mann, DDS
Manhattan Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Implants and Bone Loss

It seems from your description that you are having an issue with bone loss.  This comes from unhealthy gums.  FIRST GET YOUR GUMS HEALTHY.  Implants are not a replacement for teeth lost due to unhealthy gums and supporting bone.  If you can restore your gums to health, you may be able to preserve your natural teeth.  Neglected gum and bone infections result in implant loss as easily as tooth loss.

Marc Zive, DMD
Springfield Dentist

Keep your own teeth..

You say that you are young and have some bone loss under your retainer...The answer is not to remove the teeth but to clean them up and prevent more bone loss. Once they are healthy then you can consider getting some bone grafting orgum grafting done to firm them up...Implants are not a substitute for unhealthy gums

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Bone needed for dental implants

To place a dental implant, you need enough of the right type of bone in the right location. In your case, I think a good first step would be to see an oral surgeon. The surgeon will be able to use x-rays and or a cone beam CT to determine if you are to the point that you need implants and if there is enough bone to place them successfully. Even if you don't have enough bone, a surgeon can explain your options for bone grafting.

Paul D. Kantor, DDS
Cleveland Dentist
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

How much Bone is needed for Dental Implant?

It sounds like you may be a good candidate for implants and you are correct in not wanting to go to a denture if possible.  To determine the success of implants in your situation, your general dentist will refer you to a periodontist or oral surgeon who places implants.  They should request a CT Scan that will determine the three dimensional characteristics of your bone and will be more accurate than a two dimensional xray.  After studying your scan, the specialist will determine how many implants can be placed and where.  Fortunately, implants have advanced to the point where there are so many types and different sizes that fit many situations.  Also bone augmentation can be achieved in many cases.  Implants are a terrific option and I wish you the best with your situation.

Toni Margio, DMD
Las Vegas Dentist

The bone that you have will be determined by a scan.

Once you are free of any infection (which you seem to be), a periodontist or oral surgeon should get together with your restorative dentist, discuss your case.  After that you may have to extract any hopeless teeth, temporize the areas, then have a scan/cone beam x-ray taken 2 months after extractions.  At that point ,the initial treatment plan can be confirmed and/or additional grafting may be necessary according to the scan findings.


Anca Bazile, DDS, MSD, Periodontist, New York City

Anca Bazile, DDS
New York Dentist

Amount of bone for dental implant placement


The bone needs to be of adequate height and width to allow the following:

  • Proper location for implant placement
  • Proper angle for implant
  • Adequate gum tissue support to make it aesthetic and hygienic
  • Proper implant size

Long term success of implants is highly dependent on a healthy and complete bone and gum tissue foundation. Consultiing with an oral surgeon will be very helpful to see what is necessary.

H. Ryan Kazemi, DMD
Bethesda Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Bone and Implants

You seem to have a significant problem for a young person. It is always best to save your own teeth rather than place implants if they are salvageable. Bone can be grafted to save your natural teeth. If they cannot be saved, bone can be grafted to place implants on any healthy person.

Mickey Bernstein, DDS
Memphis Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Dental Implants Need Bone

You need to see a periodontist and or a oral surgeon.  They will do a detailed series of bone scans and will decide if you have enough bone.  If you need minor tooth movement because you mentioned they bother you when you push on them, they may want to involve a orthodontist.

If you don't have enough bone, you can sometimes do a bone graft.  All of this may sound complicated but it has become quite routine. 

You can also skip all of this and do a fixed Maryland Bridge which can now be make with tooth colored materials.  You don't need to cut down adjacent teeth and it can look great.  Look into Sculpture Bridges by DaVinci Labs.

If you have enough bone, you can do Implants.  Sometimes you can do a limited number of Implants with multiple teeth attached. 

Finding a team leader (dentist or Prosthodontist) is going to be important.  Ask around, do research and enjoy this process-The result will be well worth it.

Wendy S. Spektor, DDS
Bellevue Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.