Over time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.
Today, we can grow bone 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 functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip, or tibia (below the knee.) Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, long term loss of teeth, or congenital defects. This bone is harvested from several different sites depending on the size of the defect.
Bone grafting is an area of great discussion within our specialty. This is an area of great pride and success for our surgeons based on their advanced Maxillofacial training in a major trauma institution. Advances in science have allowed us to achieve greater goals with decreased downtime and cost.
Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) is the laypersons answer to stem cells for bone grafting. It is a chemical found within your own body and is released by your bone cells to facilitate formation of new bone. BMP attracts your own stem cells to the area of injury and instructs those cells to start forming bone. BMP is now synthesized in a laboratory setting for surgical use.
The surgeon places the synthetic BMP in the defective area to direct new bone formation. This is done in the office setting under an IV sedation. There are obvious cost savings and decreased complications associated with additional surgical sites.