Bone loss is a common occurrence when teeth are missing for a long period of time. That’s because the roots of your teeth constantly stimulate the production of new bone through chewing — when teeth are missing, so are their roots. Sometimes, bone loss can become so severe that a patient is not a suitable candidate for dental implants. In these instances, a bone grafting procedure is necessary because it restores the bone that has been lost. Bone grafting can also be used in the treatment of other oral and maxillofacial conditions, such as facial trauma or tooth extraction. Once a patient has received their dental implants, the bone in the jaw is well-maintained because this type of tooth restoration replaces the entire tooth, root and all, which allows for natural stimulation of the jaw bone.
Types of Bone Grafting
Bone grafts work by applying a solution of granulated bone material (or other healing agents) to the area or areas where more bone is desired. The bone material that is used can be sourced from another part of your own body or a tissue bank. The type of bone grafting procedure you will need depends upon the location of the missing bone, overall treatment plan, and other factors.
- Sinus lifts. Bone is added to the upper jaw and sinus cavity. If a dental implant is to be placed in the upper jaw, a sinus lift may be necessary to ensure the foundation is secure enough.
- Socket preservation. A bone graft can be performed immediately after extraction to prevent the loss of bone.
- Ridge expansion. The alveolar ridge is the bone that surrounds your upper and lower teeth. A ridge expansion will add height and/or width for a solid dental implant placement.
- Major bone grafting. A large amount of bone that needs to be replaced or restored may require major bone grafting. Major bone grafting is common for patients who have severe bone loss due to a facial trauma injury, periodontal disease, a facial tumor, or birth defect.
- Nerve repositioning. The alveolar nerve is responsible for sensation to be felt in the chin and lower lip area. Sometimes this nerve needs to be repositioned to avoid potential damage if an implant is to be placed close by. Nerve repositioning is a high-risk procedure, so is usually only performed as a last resort.
Soft Tissue Grafts
Dental implants need enough good quality bone in the jaw for a stable insertion, and they also require healthy gum tissue. In instances where gum tissue is not healthy or sufficient enough to support a dental implant, a soft tissue graft may be necessary. Soft tissue grafts can be used to increase the amount of healthy tissue surrounding a dental implant. The tissue is typically harvested from another part of your mouth, such as the palate (the roof of the mouth), but may also be obtained from a tissue bank.
Bone & Soft Tissue Grafting in Santa Fe, NM
Bone and soft tissue grafting ensure that many more patients can become successful candidates for a dental implant procedure, as well as be used in other oral surgery treatments, such as facial trauma or tooth extraction. If you would like more information about bone or soft tissue grafting or any other oral and maxillofacial surgery treatment, please contact our office to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Schow. We look forward to speaking with you.