Not every patient is suitable for different type of tooth replacement procedures. The most common issue preventing patients from being a good candidate for such treatments as dental implant surgery is bone deficiency.
The natural causes of bone deficiency:
- Defects in tooth development
- Long-term denture use
- Gum diseases
- Unattended gaps after lost teeth
- Accidents, trauma and injuries to the mouth and jaw
- Poor quality of dental procedures
Fortunately there are bone augmentation procedures which can help rebuild natural bone. There are various techniques of bone rebuilding, restoring the natural jaw line. A healthy and restored bone is a good foundation for dental implants.
Bone augmentation techniques
During a bone grafting procedure, a bone is added to the jaw by using either the patient’s own bone collected from his body (e.g. from the hip) or a donated or synthetic bone. If you require bone grafting, ask a dental implant expert about the advantages of bone grafting and which materials should be used.
Usually, bone grafts are performed under local anaesthesia with sedation in order to manage anxiety. After the procedure, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics, painkillers and special mouth wash, if required. You will also be instructed about what foods to avoid so as not to put pressure on the affected areas. During the healing process, you should be able to go on with your life as normal.
When the bone graft integrates with the jawbone, dental implants can be placed. The healing and integration time depends on individual cases. If there is very small amount of bone, integration might take more time, but usually lasts 3 to 9 months.
Sinus Lift (Sinus augmentation, Sinus elevation)
Another bone augmentation procedure is the sinus lift. In cases of loss of the upper back teeth, the sinus cavity gets bigger and with time the bone starts to deteriorate. This procedure is for patients with insufficient bone in the sinus area. After the bone is added and integrated with the jawbone, dental implants can be placed. This takes more time than single grafting – about 4 months to a year. Sinus augmentation causes very little discomfort and makes the bone a much better foundation for dental implants. Undergoing a sinus augmentation will make dental implants last longer.
Sometimes the jaw is too narrow to properly support dental implants. In such cases bone can be added to expand the ridge of the jaw. In some cases, dental implant surgery can be done immediately after ridge expansion, but usually this takes from 4 months to a year for the ridge to fully heal. Thanks to the ridge expansion, the bone is better able to support the dental implants, making them last longer.