Patients who have missing teeth for an extended period of time may need a bone grafting procedure. When a tooth is missing and not replaced, the jawbone begins to deteriorate over time.
Bone grafting is commonly performed to replace or augment bone in areas of tooth loss.
Today, bone grafting material can be obtained from a variety of sources. Be sure to ask your doctors should you have any questions about the bone augmentation material.
In most cases, bone grafting material is placed to fill the void in the socket area. The placement of a bone graft usually does not involve an extensive recovery period. The bone graft combines with your natural bone and will provide a strong anchor for a replacement dental implant.
Sinus Lift Procedure
Sometimes when a patient has lost teeth in the upper jaw a sinus lift procedure is required. The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheekbones and on top of the upper teeth. There is often only a thin wall of bone that separates the mouth from the sinus cavity. By lifting the sinus away from the jawbone, adequate space can be created for the bone to grow in order to support dental implants.
A ridge expansion is a more complex form of bone grafting. It may be necessary when the alveolar ridge bone, a special type of bone surrounding and supporting teeth, begins to deteriorate or lose density due to natural breakdown. A ridge expansion is performed to widen or heighten the jaw in order to increase the bone density and have implants placed. The bony ridge of the jaw is split surgically and bone graft material is inserted into the space made.
In some cases, the inferior alveolar nerve, which runs along the lower jaw bone and gives sensation to the upper lip and chin, must be repositioned in order for dental implants to be placed.