Major and Minor Bone Grafting
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In the past, under these conditions, most patients were not candidates for placement of dental implants.
Today, we have the ability to grow 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. For more information regarding bone grafting in our El Cajon, California office, please give us a call at 619-334-8880.
Major Bone Grafting
Bone grafting can repair sites in the jaws with inadequate bone structure caused by previous extractions. The bone can be obtained from a tissue bank, a synthetic source, or your own bone is taken from the 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.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair jaw defects caused by traumatic injuries, tumor surgery or congenital defects. Sometimes the patient’s own bone is used. The 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 behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary 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.
There is a solution and it’s called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The dental implant 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 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.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not, a sinus augmentation will be performed first, then the graft may have to mature for several months. 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 expanded by mechanical means. Bone graft material can be placed and matured for a few months before placing the implant. In some situations, the implant(s) can be placed immediately.
In many cases, allograft material is used 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. Factors from the patient’s blood can be used to accelerate and promote bone formation in graft areas.
Larger surgeries are performed in a hospital surgical suite under I.V. sedation or general anesthesia. After being discharged, bed rest is recommended for one day and limited physical activity for one week.