When a tooth goes missing, the bone beneath the surface begins to deteriorate when there is no longer a tooth root to stimulate it. The bone then becomes fragile and grows thin. Not only is the bone more susceptible to breaking under minor pressure but the loss of space can distort and alter the facial structure leading to undesirable medical and cosmetic effects.
To preserve bone structure and health, dental implants are an excellent option for replacing teeth. However, if teeth have been missing for a period of time, the bone may already be weak and insufficient to support the placement of an implant. For a long time, those with weak bone structures were not candidates for dental implants. Fortunately, now with the incorporation of bone grafting, Drs. Andrus and Howard at Longmont Oral, Facial and Implant Surgery can offer dental implants to those who once were considered ineligible. For more on dental implants, click here.
What is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a procedure that involves taking a very small amount of healthy bone from one area and attaching (a.k.a. grafting) it to an area needing more bone. With time the body begins to incorporate the grafted bone. The bone that was once weak has now been reinforced and can adequately support and securely hold a dental implant in place. Bone grafting not only creates the opportunity for dental implant placement, but it also restores functionality and improves the overall health and appearance of the facial structures.
In addition to providing support for dental implants, bone grafting can prevent or improve the following complications from bone loss:
- Misalignment of remaining teeth from bone shifting beneath the surface shifting
- Distortion of facial features from weak and altered bone structures
- Decreased support of lip tissue which causes the lips to appear thin and withdrawn.
- Increased wrinkling around the mouth as the lips are drawn inwards
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and headaches
- Altered structure of the sinuses and impaired sinus drainage
- Impaired speech
- Malnutrition from limited eating capabilities
The procedure for bone grafting is done in the comfort of our Longmont office with local numbing medication or sedation if required. There are different types of bone grafting and during your consultation Dr. Howard or Dr. Andrus will discuss with you what options are available and which would be best suited to meet your needs. If you have any questions about bone grafting for implants, contact us to speak with a specialist.
Major & Minor Bone Grafting
Missing teeth over a period of time can cause your jaw bone to atrophy, or resorb. This often results in poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants as well as long term shifting of remaining teeth and changes to facial structure. Most patients, in these situations, are not candidates for dental implants, this is where bone grafting comes in.
Fortunately, today we have the ability to grow 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 aesthetic appearance.
Major Bone Grafting
Bone grafting can repair 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 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 to protect the bone graft, as well as encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration, or guided tissue regeneration.
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 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.