BONE GRAFTING

Missing teeth over a period of time can cause your jawbone to atrophy, or resorb. This often results in poor quality and quantity of bone as well as long term shifting of remaining teeth and changes to facial structure. Most patients, in these situations, would not be candidates for dental implants.

Fortunately, today we have the ability to grow more bone where it is needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, but it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and improve aesthetic appearance.

Bone grafting can augment implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone can be taken 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 can be used that will dissolve under the gum over time. These membranes are used to protect the bone graft, as well as encourage additional bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration, or guided tissue regeneration.

Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair large defects of the jaw. 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 areas depending on the size needed. 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.

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