Bone loss happens when teeth are missing for a long time. This occurs because the roots of your teeth naturally stimulate new bone growth in the jaw through chewing. Your bones are constantly working to make and reabsorb bone. But, if the teeth are missing, so are their roots — with nothing to stimulate the new growth, the bone will deteriorate over time. Bone loss can also occur due to other factors, such as severe periodontal disease, facial trauma injury, tumor, and more.
Dental implants are considered a whole tooth replacement option because they replace the root of the tooth as well as the crown. This makes them an ideal solution for patients requiring a replacement tooth while preserving oral bone health.
In some cases, the bone loss is so severe that a dental implant cannot be successful. For these patients, a bone grafting procedure can restore the bone and improve the patient’s candidacy for dental implant placement. Bone grafting can also be part of a successful treatment plan for facial trauma injuries, tooth extraction, and other oral and maxillofacial conditions.
Types of Bone Grafting
By applying a solution of granulated bone material to the area(s) where more bone is desired, a bone graft can restore the bone that has been lost. This bone material can be sourced from donor tissue or from another part of your own body.
The location of the missing bone, overall treatment plan, and other factors will determine the appropriate bone grafting procedure for you. Common bone grafting procedures include
- Sinus lifts. Granulated bone material is added to the upper jaw and sinus cavity, located just behind the cheekbones. This is a common bone grafting procedure for dental implant patients who require the implant to be placed in the upper jaw.
- Socket preservation. To prevent the loss of bone after an extraction, a bone graft can be performed immediately after a tooth has been removed.
- Ridge expansion. The bone that surrounds your upper and lower teeth is called the alveolar ridge. Height and/or width can be added with a ridge expansion.
- Major bone grafting. Major bone grafting adds a large amount of bone that needs to be restored or replaced. Patients who have severe bone loss from facial trauma injury, periodontal disease, a facial tumor, or birth defect may require this extensive type of bone graft.
- Nerve repositioning. If a dental implant needs to be replaced near the alveolar nerve, the nerve itself may need to be repositioned to avoid potential damage. This is a high-risk procedure and is usually a last resort.
Soft Tissue Grafts
Along with a sufficient amount of bone, a successful dental implant requires ideal quality and quantity of gum tissue. When the gum tissue is not healthy, or there is not enough of it, a soft tissue graft can be performed. This will increase the amount of healthy tissue that surrounds the dental implant. In general, the soft tissue used for grafting is harvested from another part of your mouth, such as the palate, but it can also be obtained from a tissue bank.
Bone & Soft Tissue Grafting
Bone and soft tissue grafting help many patients become successful dental implant candidates. They can also be used for other treatments of oral and maxillofacial surgery, such as facial trauma or tooth extraction. Please give us a call if you are interested in bone or soft tissue grafting, dental implant placement, or any other oral and maxillofacial surgery treatment. We look forward to caring for you at California Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.