Following tooth loss the jaw bone gradually atrophies or is reabsorbed. This process often results in bone of poor quality that cannot support dental implants. Fortunately, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. These ‘bone grafting’ procedures give us the opportunity to augment the bone in order to place dental implants of proper length and width.
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or maxillofacial injuries. Dr. Davis obtains bone from a tissue bank or can harvest bone from another location in your jaw. Special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and function to protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This process is known as guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using your own bone. Dr. Davis can harvest bone from a number of different sites depending on the size of the defect to be reconstructed. The skull, hip and tibia are common donor sites. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a short hospital stay.
Sinus Lift Procedure
The maxillary sinuses are situated within your cheeks on top of the upper premolar and molar teeth. Typically, only a thin wall of bone remains following upper molar extraction (which separates the maxillary sinus from the mouth). It is almost impossible to safely and predictably place dental implants into this thin shelf of bone.
The solution to this problem is sinus grafting (also known as a ‘sinus lift’). Sinus grafting makes it possible for many patients to have upper dental implants whom otherwise would not be candidates. In this procedure, Dr. Davis enters the maxillary sinus from within the mouth, lifts the sinus membrane and grafts bone onto the floor of the sinus. After several months of healing the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be safely inserted in this new bone.
In severe cases, the bony ridge becomes so resorbed that a bone graft must be placed to increase the height and/or width of the bone. This is a technique used to restore the lost bone dimension when the jaw ridge gets too thin to place dental implants. In this procedure, Dr. Davis expands the bony ridge of the jaw by mechanical means. Bone graft material is placed within the expanded bone and allowed to mature for four months before placing dental implants.