Following extraction of teeth, associated jaw structure will resorb, or deteriorate. This is called Edentulous Bone Loss, or EBL. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not immediate candidates for placement of dental implants.
Today, we have the ability to replace lost bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance.
Major Bone Grafting
Bone grafting can replace missing or inadequate bone structure that was caused by traumatic injuries, dental extractions, or gum disease. Your oral and Maxillofacial surgeon will obtain bone from a tissue bank or your own bone from your jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee.) Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw.
In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration (GTR).
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor 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 may require a hospital stay.
Ridge Expansion/Ridge Splitting Procedures
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. Bone graft material can be placed between the split bone and matured for a few months before placing the implant.
The inferior alveolar nerve, which courses through the lower jaw and gives feeling to the lower lip and chin, may need to be moved in order to make room for placement of dental implants to the lower jaw wihtout injury to the nerve. This procedure is limited to the lower jaw and indicated when teeth are missing in the area of the molars and/or and 2nd premolar, with the above-mentioned secondary condition.
Since this procedure is considered a very aggressive approach (there is almost always some postoperative numbness of the lower lip and jaw area, which dissipates only very slowly, if ever), usually other, less aggressive options are considered first (CT directed placement of implants, etc.).
Typically, we remove an outer section of the cheek side of the lower jawbone in order to expose the nerve and vessel canal. Then we isolate the nerve and vessel bundle in that area, and slightly pull it out to the side. At the same time, we will place the implants. Then the bundle is released and placed back over the implants. The surgical access is refilled with bone graft material and the area is closed.
These procedures may be performed separately or together, depending upon the individual's condition. As stated earlier, there are several areas of the body that are suitable for attaining 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 many cases, we can use allograft material to implement bone grafting for dental implants. This bone is prepared from cadavers and used to promote the patient’s own bone to grow into the repair site. It is quite effective and very safe. Synthetic materials can also be used to stimulate bone formation. We even use factors from your own blood to accelerate and promote bone formation in graft areas.
These surgeries are performed in the office surgical suite under IV sedation or general anesthesia. After discharge, bed rest is recommended for one day and limited physical activity for 72 hours.
Call our office at 407-628-5400 to get more information on the bone grafting procedure and how it can help you restore your bone structure.