Over a period of time, a jawbone with missing teeth atrophies. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients would not be candidates for placement of dental implants.
Today, however, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Major Bone Grafting
Dental Bone grafting can repair implant sites with bone structure that is inadequate due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (the shin area.) Bone grafting below the sinuses is also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum. These membranes protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration and is commonly referred to as guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using the patient’s own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of the defect. The skull (cranium), hip (iliac crest), and lateral knee (tibia), are common donor sites. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a hospital stay.
Sinus Lift Procedure
Sinuses are air-filled spaces or cavities behind our cheekbones. The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. The roots of the upper molars extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
There is a solution: a sinus graft. The cosmetic surgeon elevates the sinus membrane through a small gum incision below the cheekbone area, and bone calcium is placed which displaces the sinus cavity upward, thus creating the bone needed for the implant to heal. After only a few months of healing, the bone calcium heals as natural bone, and dental implants can be placed and stabilized in this new bone. This type of bone graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no option other than wearing loose dentures.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
In severe cases, the ridge has been reabsorbed and a bone graft is placed to increase ridge height and/or width. This is a technique used to restore the lost bone dimension when the jaw ridge becomes too thin to place conventional implants. In this procedure, the bony ridge of the jaw is literally expanded by mechanical means. Bone graft material can be placed and matured for a few months before placing the implant.
In many cases, we can use allograft material to implement bone grafting for dental implants. This bone is prepared from cadavers and used to encourage the patient’s own bone to grow into the repair site. It is quite effective and very safe. Synthetic materials can also be used to stimulate bone formation. We even use factors from your own blood to accelerate and promote bone formation in graft areas. Contact our office today in Virginia Beach VA to learn more about Bone Grafting