What determines the size of the implant a dentist uses? Does the size of your jaw have anything to do with it? If not, what are the determinants?
Excellent question, Tina. Your dentist should make a determination on the size of an implant by examining several features of a patient’s anatomy, including the "size of your jaw."
First, we must understand how many teeth are missing, and which teeth they are. Are they in the upper or lower jaw? Also, each tooth has a different dimension in the width of the "crown" part which is what you see above the gumline, and the length of the root or roots which are in the bone. Along with a thorough clinical examination, a simple x-ray will allow your dentist to visualize the condition of the bone, but as it is only two-dimensional, it is limited in the ultimate determination of implant size.
To be most exact, a three dimensional image or "scan" using CT or CBCT should be taken, which can aid in understanding all dimensions of the remaining bone, and the proximity to other structures like nerves, sinus, or adjacent teeth. A combination of these factors will help provide the information to determining the proper size of implant that should be placed to serve as a foundation for your new tooth or teeth.