Alveolar bone is the portion of the jaw that supports and anchors the teeth. There are many causes of alveolar bone loss. The alveolar bone can be lost due to the loss of teeth, dental disease or trauma, pathology or infections. Over a period of time, the bone of the jaw associated with missing teeth atrophies or is resorbed. This bone loss may result in changes in appearance, function and overall health. Loss of the alveolar bone can cause people to experience pain, cause damage to their remaining teeth and even cause difficulty with speech and eating. In people who have lost many or all of their teeth, the bone loss may make wearing dentures difficult or impossible.
Bone loss often creates a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. Without bone grafting procedures, most patients would not be candidates for placement of dental implants. There are now techniques that allow the ability to grow bone where needed. Bone grafting restores and improves the architecture of the jaw and allows function and appearance to be restored. The opportunity to place implants of proper length and width is enhanced with bone grafting.
There are a number of different types of bone grafting options and techniques. These procedures may be performed separately or together, depending upon the individual’s condition. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or a patient’s own bone. 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. Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. Major bone grafting procedures involve obtaining bone from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee). There are also bone growth inducing natural substances called bone morphogenetic proteins that can be utilized to create bone stimulating the body’s own bone growing mechanisms. These proteins can sometimes eliminate the need for major bone grafting procedures and predictably restore lost bone.
After his examination and consultation with each patient, Dr. Maranon determines which types of bone graft materials or techniques are indicated for each patient’s individual circumstances.
Bone Grafting Overview
For a brief narrated overview of the bone grafting process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about bone grafting.