Bone grafting is a method of restoring bone that has become diminished or lost over time. When teeth are missing for an extended period of time, the bone surrounding the former tooth site can begin to resorb due to a lack of stimulation from the roots of your tooth. If too much bone loss occurs, sometimes it is not possible to securely or safely place a dental implant to replace your tooth. Bone grafting procedures increase the height, width, or quality of bone available to make it possible for you to receive dental implants.
Types of Bone Grafting Procedures
The type and extent of bone grafting necessary will depend on the location of the dental implants and the amount of bone loss that has taken place. Most bone grafting procedures consist of surgically placing bone graft material, which is made up of bone granules suspended in a gel with growth factors, over an area where bone lacks in quantity or quality. Below are outlines of some of the most common bone grafting procedures we offer to prepare patients for dental implant placements.
- Socket Preservation. Socket preservation procedures are a more preventative approach to bone grafting. These bone grafts are placed immediately after a tooth is extracted, usually during the same procedure, to ensure that bone loss does not occur after the tooth is removed. Preserving the amount of bone in and around the tooth socket allows for safer and more secure dental implant placements.
- Ridge Expansion. A ridge expansion increases the size of the alveolar ridge, which is the bone beneath the gums that holds your teeth in place. When tooth loss has taken place, the alveolar ridge can decrease in height and width in certain areas. During a ridge expansion, the alveolar ridge is split, and bone graft material is placed in the space between to allow for new bone to grow.
- Sinus Lift. A sinus lift or sinus augmentation procedure is often necessary when a patient needs dental implants to replace their upper molars. The maxillary sinuses are located behind the cheeks and above the rear molars. The bony wall that separates the sinus from the mouth is often very thin, making it difficult to place a dental implant without damaging the sinus or causing complications. A sinus lift procedure allows your oral surgeon to place a bone graft beneath the sinus and create adequate space for a dental implant.
- Nerve Repositioning. In rare cases, your oral surgeon may recommend nerve repositioning. When the bone of the lower jaw becomes diminished, it can be impossible to place dental implants without running the risk of damaging the inferior alveolar nerve, which gives feeling to the lower part of the face. Nerve repositioning procedures involve surgically moving the nerve out of harm’s way and placing a bone graft to secure the new position and make space for the dental implant. This procedure is not as common as other bone grafting procedures because sometimes moving the nerve at all can increase the risk of complications.
Bone Grafting at Siouxland Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
If you would like to receive dental implants or other tooth restoration solutions but are unsure of whether or not your jaw has enough bone left to support your replacement teeth, contact one of our offices today. Our oral surgeons are experts at diagnosing the condition of your mouth and forming a treatment plan to restore your bones and teeth. We have office locations in Sioux Falls, SD, Mitchell, SD, Yankton, SD, and Brookings, SD, for your convenience.