Replacing missing bone for implant placement
When we lose a tooth, whether because of extraction due to dental decay, or through perhaps a sporting accident; not only do we lose a tooth, but also, from the moment it is lost, we begin to lose some of the bone in our jaw.
In a similar way to the manner in which a muscle wastes away if not used, so the bone in the jaw gradually disappears as it no longer has to fulfill the role of holding the root of a tooth in place. If several teeth are missing, this will even gradually change the shape of our face and it is for this reason that many people find that their dentures become loose and uncomfortable, and even fall out on rare occasions. Whilst having a dental implant soon after the loss of the tooth will prevent this bone loss, if the tooth has been missing for some time, the loss may already be significant.
This has implications for people who are looking to have a dental implant placed to replace a lost tooth as there may be insufficient bone for the implant to be placed into. The good news however, is that this bone loss is easily remedied with a bone graft.
This involves the placement of small pieces of bone to build up the existing structure. The bone being grafted may be of artificial origin or from other sources, but is most often taken from the patient themselves, usually from the hip. This greatly reduces any chance of the bone being rejected. The available options will be discussed with you before any final decision is made to allow you to have control over your choice.
There are more complex procedures available for cases that are less straightforward and these include Sinus Lift Procedures, Bone Expansion Procedures, Block Graft Procedures and Iliac Crest Graft Procedures. If any of these are needed, they will be discussed with you during your consultation.