Over a period of time, the jawbone can atrophy or resorb after a tooth extraction, periodontal disease, missing teeth, oral pathology, trauma, or infection. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable 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 esthetic appearance.
The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank using cadaver (allograft) or animal bone (xenograft), or you own bone is taken from the jaw, chin, skull, hip or tibia. Your own bone is considered the best bone because it is vital bone, and can be used to graft large areas, but requires a second surgery site for grafting. Allograft and xenograft are convenient because they do not require a second surgery site. These grafts however, lack the potential to induce bone growth like your own bone can.
Socket Preservation: When a tooth or multiple teeth are extracted, the socket will often resorb and shrink in dimension over time. A socket preservation is a procedure in which an allograft or xenograft is placed into the socket to maintain the bony dimension to receive an implant in 3-4 months.
Ridge Augmentation: Overtime, the jawbone with missing teeth will often resorb. If implants are considered, they will often require the bone to be built back up to house the implant. Ridge augmentation is a procedure in which a bone graft is placed over the resorbed bone, and under the gum tissue. This can take anywhere from 3-6 months of healing, followed then by implant placement.
Sinus Lift: In the back upper jaw, there is an air filled space called the maxillary sinus. The maxillary sinuses are air-filled spaces behind each cheek in the back of the upper jaw. When the back upper teeth are removed, there is only a small amount of remaining bone separating the sinus from the mouth. Overtime, the sinus can increase in size while the jawbone in this area resorbs. If implants are being considered, and there is not enough existing bone, a sinus lift procedure is required. A sinus lift can be performed by making a window into the sinus and then adding bone along the sinus floor to create enough height to sufficiently house the implants. While implants are typically placed after 6 months of healing, in certain cases they can be placed at the same time as the sinus bone graft.