oral surgeon pointing to model of tooth in socket

Atrophic Tooth Gap – How Do Specialist Surgeons Treat It

Clinicians must decide how to address a severely atrophic tooth gap. How they come to this decision remains a mystery for most people. Researchers wanted to know how they determine which method to use. What factors do they take into consideration when deciding which treatment is best.

oral surgeon pointing to model of tooth in socket

The Study

Researchers surveyed 250 oral and maxillofacial surgeons in southern Germany to determine how they decide on treating an atrophic tooth gap, whether it be single or multiple. For example, the researchers wished to gather information regarding the factors considered when creating a treatment plan. The first portion of the study examined the patient's age and whether or not endocarditis prophylaxis, the prevention of inflammation of the heart's inner walls and valves, was needed. The second portion of the survey looked at anxiety and whether or not the patient was undergoing bisphosphonate therapy. Bisphosphonates are drugs that help prevent or slow down bone thinning (osteoporosis). Treatment options included a “bone block,” “bone split,” “bone resection,” and “augmentation of the bone with a substitute material.”

An oral or maxillofacial surgeon may recommend a bone block to replace missing teeth when insufficient bone mass cannot support a tooth implant. In contrast, the bone split technique is helpful as a treatment for a narrow bone ridge by yielding the capability of ridge expansion. As for the option involving augmentation of the bone with a substitute material, an alveolar bone augmentation procedure involves fully forming and shaping newly grown bone with a bone substitute material. Lastly, an oral or maxillofacial surgeon may recommend a bone resection to remove pointed residual alveolar bone and create an implant site with sufficient width.


male implant dentist with dental assistant preparing to treat patientOf the 117 individuals who participated in the survey, 68 were oral surgeons. The remaining respondents worked as maxillofacial surgeons. The researchers found that patient age and anxiety played a small role in selecting treatment options. On the other hand, required endocarditis prophylaxis led to the respondents refusing bone split, bone block, and augmentation of the bone with a substitute material at much higher rates. Furthermore, this concern led to a higher general refusal of any therapy.

Concerning bisphosphonate therapy, respondents were more likely to refuse any treatment. The different treatment options didn't play a role in this refusal. The respondents generally opted to refuse therapy across the board when this factor was in play. Regarding patient age and need for endocarditis prophylaxis, oral surgeons were more likely to refuse treatment than maxillofacial surgeons. Researchers observed no difference between the two specialties in the therapy decision regarding patient anxiety and bisphosphonate therapy.

Researchers learned that patient age and anxiety weren't significant factors in a specialist's decision regarding treatment for severely atrophic tooth gap. However, surgeons were hesitant to treat men and women undergoing bisphosphonate therapy or who needed endocarditis prophylaxis.

What Does This Mean?

female oral surgeon wearing mask and holding modle of mouth

Surgeons remain hesitant to treat an atrophic tooth gap when a patient needs endocarditis prophylaxis or is undergoing bisphosphonate therapy. However, they also consider additional factors when making a treatment determination. For example, in addition to a patient's age and comorbidities, the surgeon considers their attitude and whether they smoke.

Furthermore, the surgeon's knowledge and usual routines when making this decision come into play. Maxillofacial surgeons were more likely to take on these cases than oral surgeons. Their knowledge of alveolar ridge widening and other techniques that may be necessary as part of the procedure could play a role in their willingness to take on more of these cases.

Overall, both oral and maxillofacial surgeons take on cases involving the implantological restoration of a tooth gap, whether a single or multiple-tooth gap. The designation of the specialist has little impact on which therapy the patient selects, and the same holds for the patient's age and anxiety.

Patients in need of endocarditis prophylaxis are less likely to undergo a bone split, bone block, or augmentation of the bone with a substitute material. Surgeons are more likely to turn away those patients undergoing bisphosphonate therapy or needing endocarditis prophylaxis. Surgeons from both specialties are more likely to refuse a patient with comorbidity. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons must consider this information when treating a patient with this tooth loss.

What Should You Do If You Have An Atrophic Tooth Gap?

model of lower jaw and teethIf you have an atrophic tooth gap, you may wonder about your treatment options. If you have a tooth gap, you should seek dental care. Dental implants are an option that dental professionals can use to bridge the gap between your teeth. If you have this condition, you should visit a dental specialist for a diagnosis. These professionals are well-trained to treat patients with missing teeth. In addition, you'll have a new, healthy smile and the confidence to talk to friends and family.


Brought To You By: StarBrite Dental


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