Dental implants are stable, natural-feeling dental replacement options but the implants require ideal bone and soft tissue conditions for best results. If you have weak or eroded jawbone or soft tissue issues, your cosmetic dentist might need to fix the problems using periodontal surgery techniques.

The type of surgery required depends on the problem and the problem also dictates whether the surgery will be performed before or after dental implant placement. Here are a couple of the potential periodontal surgeries that can best prepare your mouth for dental implants.

Bone Graft

A bone graft is one of the most common periodontal surgeries required for dental implant placement. Your dentist will use donor bone to patch or thicken areas of jawbone that are currently too weak to properly support and heal around the dental implant root. Weak or missing bone can be due to systemic illness or poor oral healthcare.

The donor bone can come from within your own body, which usually is taken from elsewhere in your jaw. If you lack enough healthy bone to donate to yourself, there are outside sources your dentist can use. Those donors include synthetic materials, cadaver bone, and even bovine bone.

Your dentist will need to perform the bone graft well ahead of the implant procedure since the old bone and donor bone need time to heal and fuse together before the root is placed into the bone.

Gum Graft

The dental implant relies on the jawbone for stability but the blood vessels in the soft tissue covering the bone help keep the area healthy during the healing times involved in receiving dental implants. A lack of sufficient gum tissue could leave bone partially exposed once the natural tooth is removed. Receding gums are a common but irreversible condition caused by genetics or poor oral hygiene habits.

If your gums have receded to the point that your dentist can't close tissue over the implant root, you might have to undergo a gum graft. The graft works similarly to a bone graft in that donor tissue is stitched into existing tissue to better suit the implant's needs. Graft tissue can again come from your own mouth – usually from the roof – or from an outside source.

Gingivectomy or Gingivoplasty

In rare cases, people actually have an overabundance of gum tissue. When natural teeth are present, the extra tissue tends to make teeth look smaller than normal. Once the natural tooth is removed, the excess tissue doesn't fit tightly over the jawbone for optimal healing and bone promotion.

Your dentist might recommend a gingivectomy to remove excess gum tissue ahead of your dental implant procedure. The dentist might leave a bit of extra gum to allow for some shaping room once the implant is placed. After the implant crown is successfully installed, the dentist can perform a gingivoplasty procedure to better shape the soft tissue around the base of the implant. The shaping is done via scalpel cuts and stitching the gums to heal in the new position.

If you're looking into having a cosmetic dental procedure, see or contact your local dentist for more information.