The process of adding bone to the jaw before dental implants are placed is called bone augmentation. Implants require enough bone in the jawbone to support them since it is the jawbone that provides a foundation for the implant and if your jaw is too short or too narrow a bone augmentation procedure is necessary to create more bone. This is typically done by grafting bone or a bone like substance to the jaw and waiting for the grafted material to fuse with the existing bone over several months. It is important to note that both the quality and the quantity of existing jaw bone material are crucial for a successful implantation.
In most implant cases, there is not enough bone material for optimal support of artificial dental roots due to injury or infectious diseases. However, there are many surgical techniques available to augment jawbones, these techniques include:-
- Sinus lift - The height of your upper jaw can be increased by filling your maxillary sinus with bone.
- Distraction Osteogenesis – This is an emergent bone augmentation procedure that involves inserting a titanium device into the jaw with pins that widens it over time.
- Ridge expansion – This is another type of bone graft procedure that is carried out when the jaw is not wide enough to support the implants.
- Bone grafting – This is an additional surgery that is carried out before the actual implant, the bone is taken from the patient's chin or from a cadaver and is used to "rebuild" the lost bone so that it can support an implant, however a combination of human cadaver bone and synthetic materials can be used if the patient is uncomfortable with removing bone the body. The bone graft will take about six to nine months to heal before dental implants can be placed.
This procedure just like many other medical surgery procedures come with its risks, there may be complications encountered; there may be damage to surrounding structures such as the tongue, cheek, nerves, blood vessels, neighboring teeth, and neighboring roots, as well as any corresponding consequences, there is also the risk of disease transmission when using foreign material depending on how the material has been processed, bone infections and in some cases the material may just not grow in.