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.
Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implant of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance.
Major Bone Grafting
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure 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 (below the knee.) Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called 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.
Before dental implant surgery, bone grafting is sometimes necessary to supplement the bone mass of patient’s jaw so that the implants can be anchored firmly. That means bone grafting will be performed, if required, to ensure that your dental implants provide you a lifetime of beautiful smiles.
When is Bone Grafting Necessary?
Loss of bone volume can be caused by a variety of factors, including infection, trauma, and periodontal (gum) disease. If a patient lost a tooth long ago and is just now looking into dental implant surgery, it’s likely that the bone around the lost tooth has degenerated to some degree and needs to be augmented before it can support an implant. A sinus lift is commonly necessary for implants that are to be placed in the upper back corners of the jaw.
A patient’s need for bone grafting may become apparent at the time of their pre-surgery X-ray. Sometimes, inadequate bone volume is not discovered until the dentist actually begins dental implant surgery. In this case the dental implant procedure will be halted and bone grafting will take place at our practice after the patient has agreed to the procedure.
Types of Bone Grafts
There are three types of bone grafts, each named with regard to the source of the bone used in the procedure:
In an autogenous bone grafting procedure, bone is harvested from one area of the body and transferred to another.
In an allograft procedure, either synthetic bone or cadaver bone is used to augment the jaw bone.
In a xenograft procedure, cow bone is used.
Autogenous bone grafting is the preferred method, as it yields the most predictable results. Bone harvested from the patient’s body — as opposed to synthetic, cadaver, or cow bone — is alive and has live cellular elements that enhance bone growth. When performing a bone grafting procedure to augment the jaw for dental implants, the dentist usually takes bone from the chin or back part of the lower jaw and transplants it to the area that will eventually provide the platform for the implants.
How long after bone grafting can I get my dental implant?
It takes several months for the grafted material to fuse with your existing bone. Therefore, dentists typically wait 6 to 12 months to place dental implants after the bone grafting procedure. After your dental bone grafting procedure at our practice, Dr. Dele will monitor your healing and keep you updated on when the dental implants can likely be placed.