When a dentist assesses a patient’s suitability for dental implants the quality and quantity of your jawbone is a very important factor. The dentist will physically examine your jawbone and any existing teeth that you have but may also need to see an X-Ray or perhaps a 3D CT scan to be able to fully assess.
Most patients have their dental implants placed without complication but if a patient has had considerable bone loss due to several missing teeth then a bone graft may be necessary. A bone graft can range from very a simple inexpensive procedure to build up the bone in a localised area to more complex surgery involving a dental surgeon placing membranes.
Our natural teeth help maintain healthy bone tissue so when we lose teeth our jawbone goes through a resorption process where the bone shrinks – because the bone no longer has a primary function.
Small Bone Augmentation Procedures
Whilst the jawbone may take the dental implant, the bone may not have enough strength to support the dental implant when load or biting pressures are applied after the healing period. Artificial or synthetic bone is used which will act as a matrix for your natural bone to regenerate into this area.
Synthetic bone is supplied by pharmaceutical companies and has proven to be very successful and less invasive than harvesting bone from other parts of your body. Your dentist may also decide to harvest some bone from another part of your mouth.
Quite often the bone around the sinus area in the upper jawbone is not thick enough to be able to accept dental implants. A sinus lift is a procedure whereby the bone in the molar area of the upper jawbone is increased with a view of placing dental implants.
Depending on patient circumstances the implants will either be placed at the same time as the sinus lift or at a later stage after the bone has taken.
Synthetic bone can be used or perhaps bone from another part of the patients body, usually another part of the jawbone.
This procedure is common with patients travelling to Hungary for dental treatment.
Complex Bone Augmentation
If your situation is complex then the dentist may advise other forms of bone augmentation such as ridge expansion or barrier membranes to widen the jawbone or regenerate certain areas of the jawbone. This type of bone grafting is more likely to be offer by a dental surgeon.