Sometimes, when teeth have been missing for a while, or patients have had an injury or are suffering from gum disease, the bone around these missing teeth may have grown thinner. This occurs because tooth roots must be present in the jaw bone to ensure that the bone remains healthy. Today, thanks to advances in medical science, we have the capability to grow bone in places where it is needed, giving us the incredible ability to place stable implants and restore oral function and beautiful smiles to our patients. If you are missing bone in your jaw and are planning on dental implants, your oral surgeon may recommend that additional bone is grafted into the implant area so that your implants have a greater chance for long term success and stability.
Bone grafting procedures consist of the application of granulated bone material, growth factors, and other healing materials in the areas of your jaw that are lacking, stimulating healthy and natural new bone growth where your dental implant is to be placed. The bone that is used for grafting procedures can be attained from a tissue bank or harvested from places in your own body. Another route is to use synthetic materials for grafting.
Bone Morphogenetic Proteins. Sometimes, a substitute for using real bone, synthetic materials are used as a safe and proven alternative. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are proteins that are naturally produced in the body that help us to form new cartilage and bone. This material can be used in bone grafting to increase the bone in the jaw to support dental implant placement and eliminates the need to have a second procedure to harvest bone from elsewhere in the body. For BMP treatment, a protein solution is placed over the area of bone that needs support. This stimulates the body to create new natural tissue and bone during a healing period of several months. After the new bone has finished growing into the area, your jaw will be in good shape to receive your dental implant.
Drs. Morgan and Morio are extensively trained to provide the full scope of bone grafting procedures and will determine during your consultation which type of bone graft material and procedure is best suited to your individual case.
Types of Bone Grafting Procedures
Bone grafting is common for dental implant patients who require a better foundation in their jaw bone for their implants. Most of these procedures are minimally invasive and can be performed in the comfort of our surgical suite under local anesthesia. There are a few different bone and soft tissue grafting treatments that are performed at our practice to meet each one of our patient’s needs, including
- Ridge Augmentation. If the alveolar ridge (the bone surrounding and supporting teeth) has lost density, ridge augmentation can expand or heighten the jaw to prepare your mouth for successful dental implant placement. During ridge augmentation, the alveolar ridge is surgically split, and bone graft material is placed.
- Sinus Lift. Oral surgeons will recommend and perform a sinus lift procedure if there is not enough bone present between the upper jaw and the sinus cavity for successful dental implant placement. In this procedure, a bone graft that is placed below the sinus membrane integrates with the bone in the jaw over several months. Once integration with the bone is complete, dental implants that are placed in that location will have a much higher rate of success.
- Socket Preservation. Sometimes an oral surgeon will place a bone graft into the empty socket immediately after a tooth extraction. This prevents bone loss at the site and prepares the area for an eventual dental implant.
- Soft Tissue Grafts. A soft tissue graft will be recommended when periodontal disease and gum recession have changed the gum line so that is not uniform around the dental implant. For a more natural look, soft tissue grafts (small pieces of tissue taken from other areas) will be surgically implanted in the affected area. The aesthetic improvements from this procedure are not the only benefits. Soft tissue grafts can also help stop further bone loss and recession of the gums and can even help reduce root sensitivity.
- Nerve Repositioning. The inferior alveolar nerve gives feeling to the lower lip and chin. Sometimes this important nerve may need to be moved to make room for the placement of dental implants in the lower jaw. Bone grafting material is added to the area after a nerve repositioning procedure to close the space made to access the nerve. This procedure is not commonly recommended unless completely necessary, as numbness in the lower part of the face is common after surgery. This numbness typically takes a while to go away and may even be permanent. Other options will be discussed before a nerve repositioning procedure is recommended.
Because bone grafting has the incredible ability to repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure, more patients can restore their oral functionality and smiles with dental implant treatment. After a bone grafting procedure, a few months of healing is required for the bone graft to fuse with your natural bone for a stable foundation for your implants.
Bone Grafting in Hiawatha, IA
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our practice. Bone grafting may be recommended so that your dental implants have a stable foundation of healthy bone for long-term durability. Drs. Morgan and Morio will be happy to discuss your bone grafting options during your consultation to develop a treatment plan based on your unique needs. Please contact our front office to schedule with us.