Bone & Tissue Grafting

Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone unsuitable for placement of dental implants. In the past these patients would not have been considered as candidates for placement of dental implants.

Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, 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 and protect the bone graft and 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 sites depending on the size of the defect. 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.

CT Determined Bone Grafting
Most X-Rays taken before bone grafting are panoramic x-rays. Panoramic x-rays give the doctor a 2 dimensional picture of the patient's bone structure. This allows the doctor to see only the height of the bone in the mouth and may not give a completely accurate picture of the quantity and quality of bone due to distortion from magnification. CT Scans allow for a realistic 3 dimensional image of the patient in which the doctor can see contours of the bone and the actual anatomical structure without distortion. Therefore, the oral surgeon that performs the bone grafting will have complete knowledge of the amount of bone to be added to specific locations in a patient's mouth. After the bone grafting procedure the patient will be able to have implants placed in the new bone so the patient's aesthetic transformation can be completed.