The jawbone is designed to hold teeth. Bone resorption occurs over time in areas where teeth have been extracted. The jawbone requires stimulation from the teeth to maintain it’s integrity and structure (tooth loss results in bone loss). Bone resorption is often most severe when dentures are worn and the ridges holding the dentures in place recede. This requires repeated relining of loose dentures. Bone grafting (regeneration) in these areas of bone loss is often necessary to allow for the placement of implants.
Bone grafting is the replacement or augmentation of missing bone around the teeth.
Bone grafting material come from a number of sources:
- Autograft: This graft is obtained from the patient’s mouth. It is taken from the backside of the lower jaw, chin, or excess bone (which naturally occurs in some patients). It often requires an extra surgical site to obtain the graft.
- Allograft: This graft is human bone from highly reputable bone banks. It is proven to be safe and reliable. Most patients opt for this kind of graft.
- Xenograft: This graft also comes from a donor, however, the source is an animal – usually cows. This is tested for safety and efficiency as well.
- Alloplast: These grafts are inert, man-made synthetic materials, most often in a form of calcium phosphate.
At Dental Implant & Periodontal Solutions we generally use a combination of allograft and either alloplast or autograft. We also respect and comply with patients’ requests for a specific bone grafting source.
The grafted bone takes approximately four to six months to calcify and become functional. More often than not, we graft and place the implant at the same time. This way, the implant and the bone graft mature together, which results in a shorter treatment time than the traditional protocols.
Local anesthesia is used to numb the area where the bone will be removed as well as the location where the bone will be augmented. An incision is made in the gums around where the bone will be augmented. This is done so that the dentist can see exactly how much bone will be needed before harvesting it from the patient (if an autogenous graft is being performed).
Next, the dentist will make a cut in the gums below the lower front teeth in order to expose the chin bone. The dentist will then remove a part of the bone along with any bone marrow. This incision is then closed with stitches. The bone removed from the chin will then be anchored in place in the jawbone with small titanium screws.
The dentist may place a mixture of your bone marrow and some bone grafting material around the bone graft to help speed healing. The incision is then closed with stitches. After the procedure you will likely be given antibiotics as well as pain medication. You'll be asked to follow a restricted diet of soft foods such as pastas and Jell-O. Bone grafts usually take about six to nine months to heal completely. Dental implants will not be placed until your mouth has healed completely.