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Alveolar bone grafting augmentation

The success of dental implant surgery depends on strength and support from the jawbone. Many people with missing teeth experience bone loss over time. If your jawbone isn’t dense enough, you will need to build up the bone before implants can be placed.

 

Alveolar bone augmentation

Alveolar bone augmentation refers to a number of procedures that strengthen the jawbone, typically involving grafting (adding) bone to the jaw. The graft is either made from your own bone, or a cadaver’s bone. A healing period is required for the grafted bone to fuse with your natural bone before implants can be placed – usually between four to nine months.

The specific procedure suitable for you depends on the type and number of implants needed, as well as where they will be placed. Our dentist will determine if you require initial bone grafting as part of your treatment and discuss your options with you.

 

A typical bone grafting procedure

IIf your dentist determines you don’t have enough jawbone to support an implant, you will likely require a bone graft. The procedure is done under local anesthesia and intravenous (IV) sedation to keep you comfortable. To find out how much extra bone is required, your dentist will cut the gum where the implant is to be placed. For a single implant, bone is commonly taken from the chin. However, if more bone is needed to support a larger number of implants, it may be taken from the shin or hip (this requires an overnight stay in hospital). It’s also possible to use bone from a cadaver instead.

Your dentist may then replace the extracted bone with another type of bone-graft material. This will then be covered with a layer of tissue to prevent any gum tissue from disrupting the healing process. The cut is then securely stitched together.

The extracted bone will be fixed to the jawbone with small titanium screws, and bone marrow or other bone-graft material will be positioned around it. To complete the procedure, a membrane may be placed over the graft and the incision closed. Once healed, the titanium screws will be removed from the graft before the implants are fitted.

 

Aftercare

After your procedure, you will be given antibacterial mouthwash and medication to ease the pain. Your dentist will let you know which foods to avoid, and how to avoid putting pressure on the affected area. Patients with dentures should stop wearing them for a month or so to let the area heal. Patients with natural teeth surrounding the bone graft may be given a temporary removable bridge or denture to encourage the healing process (about four to nine months long).

 

Success rate

Bone grafts are highly successful. Sometimes, however, the treatment fails for unknown reasons, although smoking and certain medical conditions can increase the risk of failure. In this case, the graft is removed. Your dentist may try to place a second graft after the area has healed.

 

Other bone augmentation procedures

When the back of your upper jaw doesn’t have enough bone, a sinus lift may be used. This lengthens your upper jaw by filling part of your maxillary sinus with bone – the area above your teeth on both sides of your nose.

This is used when the jaw is too narrow to support implants. Your dentist performs a “split ridge technique” under local anesthesia. A dental saw is used to split the top of the jaw, and the new space is then filled with graft material. Implants may be fitted straight away, or a healing period of several months may be required.

This procedure is used to make a short jawbone taller. A surgeon makes an incision in your jawbone and separates a section of bone. Screws are used to hold the separated piece in place. The screws are loosened a little each day, until the space between the separated bone and the jawbone lengthens. The empty spaces fills up with bone over time.

 

  • Sinus lift
    When the back of your upper jaw doesn’t have enough bone, a sinus lift may be used. This lengthens your upper jaw by filling part of your maxillary sinus with bone – the area above your teeth on both sides of your nose.

  • Ridge expansion
    This is used when the jaw is too narrow to support implants. Your dentist performs a “split ridge technique” under local anesthesia. A dental saw is used to split the top of the jaw, and the new space is then filled with graft material. Implants may be fitted straight away, or a healing period of several months may be required.
     
  • Distraction osteogenesis
    This procedure is used to make a short jawbone taller. A surgeon makes an incision in your jawbone and separates a section of bone. Screws are used to hold the separated piece in place. The screws are loosened a little each day, until the space between the separated bone and the jawbone lengthens. The empty spaces fills up with bone over time.

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Are you considering dental implants? Book an appointment today. Your dentist will examine your mouth and jaw to determine if dental implants are right for you, and whether you require an initial bone graft.