Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. 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 are not candidates for placement of dental implants.
What is Bone Grafting?
We now have the ability to grow bone where it is needed. If the bone under your gum is not tall enough, not wide enough or both, you will need a procedure to add bone to your jaw before implants can be placed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width but, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance. This procedure is known as bone grafting and there are different types.
What are the different types of bone grafting treatment?
Bone augmentation is a term that describes a variety of procedures used to “build” bone so that dental implants can be placed. These procedures typically involve grafting (adding) bone or bone-like materials to the jaw. The graft can be your own bone or be processed bone (off the shelf) obtained from a cadaver. After grafting, you have to wait several months for the grafted material to fuse with the existing bone.
Sinus lift procedure: This procedure involves elevating the sinus membrane and placing the bone graft onto the sinus floor, allowing implants to be placed in the back part of the upper jaw.
Ridge-augmentation: In severe cases, the ridge has been reabsorbed and a bone graft is placed to increase the ridge height and/or width.
Nerve- repositioning: The inferior alveolar nerve, which gives feeling to the lower lip and chin, may need to be moved in order to make room for placement of dental implants to the lower jaw.
These procedures may be performed separately or together, depending upon the individual’s condition. There are several areas of the body which are suitable for attaining bone grafts. In the maxillofacial region, bone grafts can be taken from inside the mouth, in the area of the chin or third molar region or in the upper jaw behind the last tooth. In more extensive situations, a greater quantity of bone can be attained from the hip or the outer aspect of the tibia at the knee.
These surgeries are performed in as in-office procedure under local anesthesia or in a surgical suite under IV sedation or general anesthesia. After discharge, bed rest is recommended for one day and limited physical activity for one week.
What is the healing process?
Everyone heals differently after a bone augmentation procedure, you will be given antibiotics, pain medication and an antibacterial mouthwash. You will be asked to avoid certain foods and will be told how to avoid putting pressure on the area while it heals. If you wear a denture, you may not be able to wear it for a month or longer while the area heals. If you have natural teeth near the bone graft, your dentist may make a temporary removable bridge.
The bone graft will take about six to nine months to heal before dental implants can be placed. At that time, the titanium screws used to anchor the bone block in place will be removed before the implant is placed.