Bone grafting procedures typically precede the placement of dental implants. The technology and methods used in this type of oral surgery procedure allow more patients to be candidates for dental implants than ever before. Bone grafting helps regenerate and strengthen areas of facial bones such as the jaws where the bone has atrophied. There are different types of grafts but the basic principle is the same: Bone grafting involves attaching bone from a different area of the body or cultured bone to areas where bone density is low.

Jawbone Atrophy

Atrophy of the jawbone is very common among patients with tooth loss and/or periodontal disease. When a patient has lost teeth, the roots no longer exist in the jawbone. Over time, the body may resorb bone mass because it no longer seems to serve a purpose. Osteoarthritis may also cause changes in bone density as well.

Dental Implants and Bone Grafting

Because dental implants are inserted into the jawbone, there must be enough bone mass to support the titanium post. Patients lacking adequate bone mass often require a bone graft so that they can enjoy a successful implantation process. A bone graft also restores a patient’s appearance after atrophy by restoring the contour and shape of the jaw.

Types of Bone Grafts

Common types of bone grafts include major grafts, ridge expansion, and sinus lift procedures. In all cases, bone may be taken from other parts of the body including the tibia or hip, or bone may be acquired from a tissue bank to perform the procedure. A major bone graft is often used to correct deformities while a ridge expansion helps increase the height or width of the jawbone’s ridge. A thin ridge may be mechanically expanded and the new bone inserted to provide the adequate amount of jawbone for a dental implant procedure in the future. A sinus lift, on the other hand, concentrates on the posterior upper jaw where the maxillary sinuses are. If the sinus wall is too thin, dental implants cannot be supported, therefore, a sinus lift thickens the jawbone enough to support the length and width of an implant.

Contact our practice today to learn more about dental implants and the bone grafting process.