Missing teeth over a period of time can cause your jaw bone to atrophy, or resorb, and can lead to unnatural looking indentations in your gums and jaw, and an appearance of a general aging. The original look of your mouth may not be recaptured because of spaces remaining under and between replacement teeth or they may appear too long compared to nearby teeth.
Bone grafting at the time of tooth extraction preserves the remaining jawbone, and minimizes shrinkage of the gum tissue. This provides for a more esthetic tooth replacement for either an implant crown or a fixed bridge.
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is resorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor bone quality and quantity and the bone becomes unsuitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants, unless preliminary bone grafting is done.
Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives Drs. Hanson and Hahn the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore excellent functionality and esthetics.
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, resorption, congenital defects or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw. Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the back portions of the upper jaw.
In addition, special membranes may be utilized that resorb slowly and protect the bone graft to encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or GBR.