Why Do I Need Bone Grafting
Missing teeth, over a period of time, can cause your jaw bone to atrophy or resorb. The bone becomes too thin for placement of dental implants. Fortunately, today we have the ability to grow bone where it is needed.
Major Bone Grafting
The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw or hip. Special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum to protect the bone graft, as well as encourage bone regeneration.
The Importance of Teeth for Jaw Bone Health
When teeth are missing, the alveolar bone, or the portion of the jaw bone that anchors the teeth into the mouth, no longer receives the necessary stimulation it needs and begins to break down, or resorb. The body no longer uses or “needs” the jaw bone, so it deteriorates.
Types of Bone Grafts
- Autogenous Bone Grafts: The bone is typically harvested from the jaw or hip.
- Allogenic Bone: Allogenic bone, or allograft, is dead bone harvested from a cadaver. It serves as a framework, or scaffold, over which bone from the surrounding bony walls can grow to fill the defect or void.
- Xenogenic Bone: Xenogenic bone is derived from non-living bone of another species, usually a cow. The bone is processed at very high temperatures to avoid the potential for immune rejection and contamination.
When a tooth is removed an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Usually this empty socket will heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue. Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not always necessary, but may be required for dental implant placement.
What is a Sinus Lift?
Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone. A sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation. A sinus lift is one of the most common bone grafting procedures. The procedure seeks to grow bone in the floor of the maxillary sinus.
How is this Procedure Accomplished?
A small opening is cut into the bone, and the membrane lining the sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in the newly formed sinus bone. If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to sufficiently stabilize the implant, 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 up to 6 months. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
The inferior alveolar nerve, which gives feeling to the lower lip and chin, may need to be moved in order to make room for the placement of dental implants in the lower jaw. There is almost always some postoperative numbness of the lower lip and jaw area, which typically dissipates very slowly, but may be permanent. These procedures may be performed separately or together depending upon the individual’s condition.