Bone Grafting

Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth undergoes a process termed atrophy. Simply put, the bone resorbs or “shrinks” away, leaving a smaller amount of jawbone than was present when the teeth were present. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and an inadequate quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants. In this situation most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.

We now have the ability to replace bone and tissue where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore form, function and aesthetics. Often, at the time of a tooth extraction, grafting may be suggested to minimize future bone and tissue loss, provide a stable foundation for future implant placement, and to prevent unnatural appearances. Dr. Lamb will guide your care on a case-by-case basis. The bone grafting procedures most commonly performed by Dr. Lamb are referred to as:

Socket Graft
Bone graft is placed into the socket of an extracted tooth at the time of tooth removal. This is done to recreate and/or maintain the bony anatomy and to minimize atrophy of the jawbone.

Sinus Lift
This procedure involves elevation of the membrane that lines the sinus and placing bone graft onto the sinus floor. This allows implants to be placed in the back part of the upper jaw.

Ridge Augmentation
In some cases the jawbone has been severely resorbed. In these situations, bone graft is added to the external surface of the jaw to increase the height and the width of the bony ridge.

These procedures may be performed separately or together, depending on the individual’s condition and needs. Bone graft materials can be obtained from the patient or from other human or nonhuman sources. There are several areas of the body that are suitable for obtaining bone grafts. In the facial region bone grafts are typically taken from various areas of the lower jaw. Newer, less invasive procedures can also be used, utilizing the patient’s own stem cells to help regenerate bone as well as using platelet rich plasma to help with healing. In situations that require more bone volume graft material can be taken from the hip or the leg.

These surgeries are normally performed in the office or outpatient surgical setting under IV sedation or general anesthesia. Recovery time varies from one day to several days, depending on the grafting procedure.