Bone Grafting

About Jawbone Health & Bone Grafting

When one or more teeth are missing, over time the jawbone in these areas can atrophy or deteriorate. In that same way that muscles are maintained through exercise, bone tissue is maintained by use. Natural teeth are embedded in the jawbone, and stimulate the jawbone through activities such as chewing and biting. When teeth are missing, the portion of the jawbone that anchors the teeth in the mouth no longer receives the necessary stimulation. This loss of jawbone can develop into additional problems, including problems with your remaining teeth, your ability to eat normally, and possibly your appearance. If multiple teeth are missing, dentures may not fit well due to this jawbone loss, and can be very difficult to keep in place. Along with missing teeth, jawbone loss can also occur due to periodontal disease, pressure from dentures, misalignment, or trauma.

In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants. Fortunately, our doctors are able to overcome these deficiencies with Bone Grafting. This gives us the ability to place implants in sites where implants were not previously possible, and can restore chewing function and esthetics.

What is Bone Grafting?

With bone grafting, we now have the opportunity to not only replace bone where it is missing, but also the ability to promote new bone growth in that location. This procedure is called a ridge augmentation. 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.

Bone used for these bone grafts may be obtained from a tissue bank, taken from another site in the patient’s mouth, or a special growth factor may be used (see below). The type of graft used and graft options are based on the extent and location of the bony deficiency. In some cases, the implants can be placed at the same time as bone grafting.

Bone Morphogenetic Proteins

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are proteins naturally produced in the body that promote and regulate bone formation and healing.

As an alternative to the traditional method of using tissue bank bone or bone harvested from elsewhere in the mouth, this new method requires implanting the BMPs via a carrier collagen membrane, directly onto the bone. The BMP is released slowly over time stimulating the bone to grow. With this cutting edge technique it is now it is now possible to grow bone in compromised cases where previous bone grafting techniques may not be as successful.

Additionally, this technique has the advantage of not requiring a second surgical site to harvest bone, reducing risk and pain.

Each bone grafting option has its own risks and benefits. Dr. Suttle or Dr. Pierce will determine which type of bone graft material is right for you.