Innovative Bone Graft Procedure
Prior to any dental implant treatment, the condition of the jawbone must be evaluated to determine if it is healthy enough to accommodate the titanium posts of the dental implants. The jawbone should in good condition as the implants require a solid foundation wherein they will be affixed.
The upper and lower jawbone differ in quality. For example, the lower jawbone is characterised by denser bone quality compared with the upper jawbone, which is relatively softer. Extracted teeth leave a gap, which may result in resorption after some time. Consequently, this causes bone loss and makes it more difficult to replace lost teeth.
Hence, the ideal time to insert implants into the affected area is approximately 6 to 8 weeks from the date of the extraction. During this period, the oral tissue in the extraction site has completed healing and any infection is gone, but bone loss has not yet set in.
The structure of the jawbone will be evaluated through advanced diagnostic imaging tests, including CT scans and X-rays. The procedure also aims to assess bone density and identify if:
- There is sufficient jawbone structure and density to receive a dental implant.
- Dental implants can be inserted without the need for bone grafting.
- The bone structure is suitable enough for simultaneous bone grafting and a dental implant.
- Bone augmentation is necessary using a bone graft to strengthen the jawbone region.
If there is sufficient bone structure and density, the dental implant treatment can be performed without a bone graft. However, the quality and quantity of the existing jawbone should also be taken into consideration.
In case the existing jawbone structure is not adequate, the specialist may advise simultaneous bone grafting and dental implantation. In this case, a Bio-Oss (bovine-derived bone graft) or Bio-Gide (porcine-derived membrane) will be acquired for use in bone augmentation. Upon fusing the bone graft into the jawbone, incisions can then be made, the titanium implants can be inserted, and the replacement teeth can be capped on the screws.
On the other hand, bone augmentation might be done first if the jawbone is weak and insufficient. Afterwards, six months of healing period should be observed prior to the implantation. If bone from the patient cannot be used for the grafting procedure, the alternative options include using a human cadaver bone graft, Bio-Oss, or Bio-Gide, which have been mentioned previously.
Using the patient’s own bone mass for the procedure offers higher chances of success as it is more likely to be accepted by the body. In contrast, bone grafts from other sources may be rejected, with a failure rate of about 25 percent. The procedure comes with other risks, such as infection and shifting of the bone graft. However, these can be mitigated through clinical expertise, and if needed, the procedure can be repeated. Alternative options for replacing lost teeth, such as the use of bridges and dentures, may also be considered.
Specialists recommend bone grafting if the jawbone is extremely weak to be a foundation for dental implants. By augmenting the jawbone, it acquires sufficient strength, making it suitable for dental implantation.
Bone grafting is only done in certain medical and dental cases wherein it is the best method to salvage deteriorating bone. If the bone structure was not strengthened through this process, an individual may suffer from bone fractures, breakage, and extreme pain. The adjacent tissues – which contain nerves and blood vessels – may also be subjected to trauma.
A particular instance where bone augmentation is required is when there is insufficient space between the sinus cavity and the upper jawbone, thus necessitating a sinus lift bone augmentation. The procedure lifts the sinus membrane into the sinus cavity, thereby creating sufficient space to house the dental implants securely and safely without obstructing the cavity or causing damage.
Bone grafting is also done to prevent thread exposure in a dental implant treatment. Though wearing a removable gum mask can hide the exposed threads of the implants, it does not completely treat the weakness of the jaw structure. Further, patients with exposed implant threads may suffer from sensitivity and pain over time.
Individuals suffering from such conditions are advised to seek immediate treatment to correct the placement of dental implants and jawbone quality. If not treated, they may experience oral health complications and neurological and vascular side-effects. With the treatment of bone loss, patients are able to reduce their risk of developing oral diseases and associated medical conditions, while improving their health.