Major and Minor Bone Grafting
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth my atrophy or resorb. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone available to wear a denture, partial, or for the placement of dental implants. In these situations, some patients will not be able to wear a denture or have dental implants without bone replacement or grafting.
Today, we have a greater ability to increase and assist bone growth where it may be needed. This provides the opportunity to place dental implants which can restore both greater function and appearance for the patient.
Major Bone Grafting
Bone grafting may repair sites where inadequate bone structure exists due to previous extractions, gum disease, injuries or tumors. Large defects can be repaired using a combination of bank bone, synthetic, and/or the patient’s own bone. A patients bone can be harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of graft needed or obtained. In addition, synthetic Bone and tissue may be utilized to enhance the graft and encourage bone growth. This is often referred to as guided tissue regeneration.
Sinus Lift Procedure
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper back teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into these sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the sinus and the mouth.
Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
A solution for this sinus bone loss or thinness is called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The oral 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 patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus (upper jaw) 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 loose dentures or partials.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations (grafts) and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the Sinus Augmentation will need to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
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, the bony ridge of the jaw is literally expanded by mechanical means. Then bone graft material can be placed and allowed to matured for a few months before placing the implant.