Bone Grafting

Major & Minor Bone Grafting

When a tooth is lost the jaw bone, over time, can atrophy or reabsorb. In order for an implant to be successful there needs to be adequate bone to support the implant. When there is insufficient bone to support an implant it is necessary to replace the bone with a bone graft.

Today, 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

Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. Your own bone is best but if that is not an option we have the option of getting bone materials from other sources such as cadaver bone or cow bone there are also synthetic bones that could be used. Sinus bone grafts are also performed to increase the bone depth in the area of the sinuses. 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 re-generation 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 patients 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.

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Sinus Lift Procedure

The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and above the upper teeth. At times the roots of the natural upper teeth can extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often inadequate bone to support the placement of an implant.

The solution is a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The dental implant surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patients jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.

The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing ill-fitting dentures.

If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus graft and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus graft and implant placement will need to be performed in two steps, allowing time four to sixteen weeks – for the new bone to become solid before placing the implant.

Ridge Preservation/Augmentation

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 gets too thin to place conventional implants. In this procedure bone is added to provide height to the ridge and or lateral to the bony ridge of the jaw to increase width, and allowed to solidify for four to sixteen weeks before the placement of the implant.