If you’ve been missing teeth for a while, you may have noticed your jawline slightly changing and your remaining teeth shifting. This is caused by bone loss in the jawbone.
When you lose teeth, the bone in that area begins to atrophy, weakening and becoming thinner. In time, other teeth are affected and the thinning area of bone spreads.
This bone loss is problematic, particularly when it comes to replacing those missing teeth. When the bone loss happens, bridges and dentures stop fitting correctly requiring them to be replaced on a fairly regular basis.
We like dental implants as a permanent solution for missing teeth, but they can’t be placed in areas without sufficient bone. Since implants can put an end to the bone loss process, oral surgeons have found methods to replace this missing bone so that implants are once again an option.
Bone grafts can use human bone harvested from elsewhere in your body, donor bone, synthetic bone created in a lab, horse or cow bone or from a protein called BMP that makes the body form bone where directed. Each has its own advantages and drawbacks and Dr. Bryan McLelland will discuss these issues with you to find the type of bone that’s best for your specific needs.
Depending on your situation, the grafting procedure may be performed either before the implant surgery and allowed to heal or during the implant surgery. The donor bone will encourage regrowth of your own bone tissue until the area is built back up.