Bone Grafting

The natural teeth are embedded in the jawbone and stimulate the bone through activities like chewing and biting. When one or more teeth are missing, it can lead to bone loss at the site of the gap. This is because the bone is no longer getting the stimulation necessary to maintain the bone tissue. This loss of bone can then result in additional problems, including pain, issues with the remaining teeth, altered facial appearance and, eventually, even the inability to speak or chew correctly.

Beyond the oral health implications, poor quality and quantity of bone may also mean you can’t receive dental implants. At our Foley oral and facial surgery practice, we offer bone grafting to help restore the strength and stability to your jawbone. Once healed, you’ll be a candidate for dental implants. To learn more, schedule a consultation at Lisa Miller Oral Facial Surgery today by calling us at (251) 320-3205.

What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is when we replace bone in the jaw that has deteriorated or reabsorbed. Not only will it help reverse the damage and prevent future bone loss, but it also gives the jawbone the strength and stability necessary for successful restorative treatments, such as dental implants. In fact, bone grafting is often the first step in the dental implant process.

During a bone graft, Dr. Miller will place a bone material to the deficient section of bone. The cells engage in a repairing process and the graft solidifies, blending into your natural bone tissue. Dr. Miller can also use synthetic materials or bone harvested from another donor, if necessary. Once healed, the bone graft is permanent and she’ll be able to place dental implants of the proper length and width, while also restoring functionality and aesthetics.

Depending on the severity of your case and your condition, we may use one of the following types of grafts:

  • Autogenous Bone Grafts: Autogenous bone grafts, also known as autografts, involve using your own bone, which has been harvested from another area of your body.
  • Allogenic Bone Grafts: Sometimes called allografts, allogenic bone grafts use human bone from a different source, such as a tissue bank, or synthetic bone.
  • Xenogenic Bone Grafts: Xenografts involve bone harvested from another species, typically a cow.

Dr. Miller will go over the pros and cons of each type of graft and work with you to decide on the best one for your needs.

Benefits of Bone Grafting

01. Strengthens Your Bone

Bone grafting can enhance the strength and stability of the jawbone, allowing for restorative treatments.

02. Improves Appearance

The procedure can prevent or reverse facial collapse and restore your appearance.

03. Maintains Oral Health

A bone graft can help ward off further bone loss and enable you to maintain your oral health.

Treatment Considerations

The complexity of the procedure, healing time and other considerations will depend on the type of bone grafting technique we use. Many procedures are performed under local anesthesia, though patients do sometimes request oral or intravenous sedative medication as well. Our team is licensed and trained to safely administer anesthesia to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure.

Common Procedures Include:

Sinus Lift

The maxillary sinuses are empty, air-filled sacs located behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Some of the roots of the upper teeth extend into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper molars or premolars are removed, there is sometimes just a thin wall of bone separating the sinus and the mouth. If a dental implant were placed, it wouldn’t have the necessary support and it could damage the sinus pocket. A bone grafting procedure called a sinus lift can be performed to raise the sinus floor to allow enough bone to be added to secure an implant.

Dr. Miller creates a small access opening in the area above the missing tooth. The sinus membrane is gently lifted upwards while bone material grafting material, either from your own body or from other sources, is packed in beneath. She then places a membrane over the access opening and sutures the area. Sometimes, the right conditions exist and a sinus lift and implant placement can be performed as a single procedure. However, in other cases, we may have to wait for the graft to mature before the implant is placed.

Socket Preservation

Sometimes the bone that holds the tooth in place, called the socket, can be damaged by disease or infection, resulting in a deformity of the jaw when the tooth is extracted. Additionally, when teeth are removed, the surrounding bone and tissue can shrink and recede very quickly. This may lead to defects and a collapse of the lips and cheeks. These defects can create major problems when we try to perform a restorative treatment like dental implants, bridges or dentures.

Socket preservation can prevent or repair deformities caused by extractions. There are several techniques Dr. Miller can use to preserve the bone. In one common method, after the tooth is removed, she fills the socket with bone or bone substitute. She then covers it with gum, artificial membrane, or tissue, which stimulates the body’s natural ability to repair the socket. This prevents the shrinkage or collapse of the gum and facial tissues and provides a foundation for an implant to replace the tooth. A socket preservation is especially important to consider if you plan on replacing the front teeth.

Ridge Augmentation

When a tooth is extracted, an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Usually, this empty socket will heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue. However, sometimes, when a tooth is removed, the socket breaks down and isn’t able to heal. If not addressed, it will continue to deteriorate. Rebuilding the socket to its original height and width may be necessary to support a dental implant or for aesthetic reasons.

A ridge augmentation involves placing bone graft material into the tooth socket. We usually do it immediately following an extraction to avoid having to perform a second procedure. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. Depending on your needs, Dr. Miller may also use a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to facilitate new bone growth.

Whether you have aesthetic or oral health concerns, we’ve got you covered. Schedule a visit to meet with our Foley oral surgeon.