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Is There An Alternative To Getting A Bone Graft For Dental Implants?

by Stella Robinson

One of the requirements for dental implants is having an adequate amount of jaw bone available to secure the titanium post that holds the crown. When a person doesn't have enough bone or the bone in the area is too weak, the dentist usually recommends getting a bone graft to help increase or strengthen it. If you prefer not to go this route, you can get subperiosteal implants that use a different method to anchor the teeth in place. Here's more information about this option.

How Subperiosteal Implants are Placed

Contrary to the popular endosteal implants—which are placed directly into the jaw bone—subperiosteal implants are placed below the gum line but just above the jaw bone and held in place by a metal frame. The crowns are then placed on top of the posts as normal. This type of implant is a good option for people who may not have enough bone to support a regular implant.

Subperiosteal implants are also a viable alternative to dentures, since multiple teeth in the same area can be replaced at the same time using this implant method. Because the wire is anchored to the jaw, you don't have to deal with some of the disadvantages associated with dentures, such as having to relearn how to eat and speak, the dentures slipping out of position, and need for frequent adjustments.

This type of implant also typically requires less healing time than implants placed directly into the bone, since you only need to wait for the gums to heal instead of until the jaw bone fully integrates the titanium post (which can take 2 to 4 months).

Lastly, when properly cared for, subperiosteal implants can last up to 30 years or more.

Potential Disadvantages

However, subperiosteal implants are not without disadvantages. If not properly anchored, the metal wire can move under the gums when you're eating and speaking. This can cause damage to the bone and nerves over time. Additionally, this movement may cause an infection, which can result in the loss of gum tissue and more teeth if not caught and treated in time.

Another issue is if the metal wire or posts are damaged due to trauma, the entire thing will have to be removed to be repaired or replaced.


The cost of subperosteal implants vary depending on how many teeth need to be replaced and the dentist performing the procedure. However, it can cost as much as $15,000 to $20,000, and you may need to pay an additional fee for the crowns. Your dental insurance may chip in to help pay for the procedure, though, so you'll want to contact your insurance provider about this option.

For more information about subperiosteal implants, contact a cosmetic dentist, such as David Jackson, DDS.