Major and Minor Bone Grafting
Over a period of time, the jawbone in areas where teeth are missing, atrophies or goes away. The same way muscle atrophies with disuse. This often leaves a condition in which bone quality and quantity is poorly suited for placement of dental implants.
We now have the ability to graft bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width in the proper position, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance. It is our policy to only graft bone where it is clearly necessary. Our experience in this field allows us to take a conservative approach, often avoiding a graft all together.
There are many types of graft procedures; each intending to replace bone and restore function. Each procedure is tailored to your specific need. Some of the grafting procedures are; Sinus Lift, Ridge Augmentation, Ridge Preservation and Block Grafting.
A Sinus Lift involves elevating the sinus membrane and placing the graft bone onto the sinus floor, recapturing jaw bone which was lost to an enlarging sinus. This allows implants to be placed in the back part of the upper jaw. Alternatively, a less invasive procedure can be performed which achieves the same goal by way of a smaller opening. Frequently this method allows for simultaneous placement of the graft and the implant.
In severe cases, the ridge of bone that holds the teeth has been lost to atrophy. In these cases a bone graft is placed to increase (or augment) the ridge height and/or width. The graft is obtained from a donor site in your own body or any number of donor or synthetic sources. There are several areas of the body which are suitable for obtaining 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 are often referred to as a Block Grafts.
When a tooth is removed, bone loss is a natural part of the healing process. Most of that bone loss occurs in the first 3-6 months of healing. Bone is lost to varying degrees and if there is a history of infection around the tooth then more bone loss can be expected. In some instances, placing a bone graft at the time that the tooth is removed is the best chance to maintain or regain bone in that site. This is more likely to be significant in the areas that are visible when you smile.
In the "esthetic zone" (that region visible when you smile) or in areas where the roots of teeth are exposed, there is frequently a need to replace or build up the gum tissue. This not only allows the replacement tooth to look more natural, improving the appearance of your smile, but it can also improve the lifespan for teeth and implants.
These surgeries can be performed in the office or hospital surgical suite under I.V. sedation or general anesthesia. After discharge, your oral hygiene and diet will be altered. You will receive instructions tailored to your specific situation.