Bone Grafting

In areas of the jaw where teeth are missing, many individuals will see significant bone loss and the jaw bone is reabsorbed. This often results in a condition where there is not the quality and quantity of bone required to place dental implants. Bone grafting gives us the ability to grow bone where it is needed for successful implant placement. It also allows our surgeons to restore functionality and aesthetics of the jaw.

Sinus bone grafting may also be performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition to the grafting, specialized membranes may be utilized to protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. These membranes dissolve independently. This technique is called bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.

Major Bone Grafting

Bone grafting can also be used to repair inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. Most grafting can be done with bone from a tissue bank, although in some cases bone taken from the patient can be used as well.

Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, past 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.

Sinus Lift Procedure

The maxillary sinuses are located behind your cheeks, and on the top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend into the maxillary sinuses. When these teeth are removed, there is often only a thin wall of bone separating the sinus and mouth. This thin bone cannot support a dental implant.

For patients with these circumstances, a sinus lift graft can be an effective solution. This entails your surgeon entering the sinus from where the upper teeth were. The sinus membrane can then be lifted, and donor bone inserted into the floor of the sinus. After several months of healing, this bone heals as part of the patient’s jaw. This new, more substantial bone allows for dental implants to be placed and stabilized.

Sinus grafting makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants, when in years past there would be no other option that to wear loose fitting dentures.

If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize an implant, sinus augmentations and implant placement may be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation would be performed first, and the graft will be left to mature for several months. Once the graft has integrated, the implants can be placed.

Ridge Expansion

In some severe cases, bone grafting can be placed to increase the height and/or width of the jaw ridge. This technique helps to restore lost bone dimension when the jaw ridge becomes too thin to support dental implants. This procedure allows the ridge of the jaw to be expanded to support implants.

Grafting for Pre-Prosthetic Surgery

The preparation of your mouth for the placement of a prosthesis is referred to as pre-prosthetic surgery.

Some patients require minor procedures before receiving a partial or complete denture in order to maximize comfort. A denture sits directly on the bone ridge, so it is critical that the bone is the proper size and shape. If a tooth, or multiple teeth, have been extracted the underlying bone may be sharp or uneven. For the best fit, the jaw bone may need to be smoothed out or reshaped. Occasionally, excess bone may be removed to assist in fitting dentures.

Your specific needs will be reviewed as part of your consultation to identify the procedures needed to provide you with the highest level of comfort with your dentures.