Bone Augmentation: How It Works And Types Of Bone-Augmentation Procedures

If you have lost a tooth to gum disease or decay, you may be able to have it replaced with a dental implant. An implant is basically a titanium rod that is surgically inserted into the jawbone to act as an anchor for an artificial crown. Implants are a proven and effective method of tooth replacement, but they do require that you have healthy gums and enough jawbone to support them.

If the bone mass below your gums is not tall and thick enough to support an implant, you will often need a procedure called 'bone augmentation' that adds bone to your jaw. Here is a look at how bone augmentation works, and the different techniques dentists can use to build up your depleted bone mass so that you can successfully get an implant.

How it works

Bone augmentation typically involves the grafting of bone into your jaw, so that it fuses with your existing jawbone and creates enough bone mass to support an implant. The process involves getting bone from your chin, lower jaw or hip that contains bone-forming cells, and surgically inserting it into the jaw to stimulate bone growth. Once the bone is grafted, you usually have to wait a few months for it to fuse with your jaw.

You are likely to require bone augmentation if you have had serious bone loss over an extended period of time following a traumatic injury, gum disease or severe cavities.

Types of bone-augmentation procedures

Dentists usually determine the type of bone graft you need depending on the type, location and number of implants to be used.

The most common bone grafting procedure is called a 'sinus lift'. This procedure involves elevating the maxillary sinus—which is the area above your jaw on either side of your nose above the back teeth by filling it with new bone. The bone graft allows for enough bone to grow on the back part of the upper jaw so as to support an implant.

A 'ridge split' is another effective bone grafting procedure that may be recommended when the jawbone is not wide enough to support an implant. Dentists usually split the jaw along the ridge and fill the resulting space with grafted bone. After a while, this new bone will fuse with your existing bone, increasing the thickness and strength of the jaw.

Dental implants are often the best option for replacing your natural crown and root after a damaged/decayed tooth is removed. Implants offer a stable, natural-looking and very durable tooth replacement option. For more information, contact dentists like Bruce Mathes DDS.