Missing Bone

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Missing Bone?

Some people do not have enough healthy natural bone to support dental implants. A dental implant expert can tell you if you need bone augmentation.

Natural bone insufficiency can be caused by:

  • Gum disease
  • Tooth development defects
  • Wearing dentures long term
  • An injury to the face or trauma
  • Spaces left empty in the mouth after teeth are removed
  • Dental procedures where efforts were not made to restore natural bone

Several techniques are used to rebuild bone, restore your natural jaw line and smile, and provide a strong and sturdy foundation for implant-supported teeth. Most patients proceed with everyday life and work, often by the next day, and continue throughout the months between dental appointments.

Common Techniques to Augment Bone

Ask your dental implant dentist about the advantages of different bone augmentation methods and materials so that, together, you can make an informed decision. See inside for more infor mation on several common techniques .

How to Choose Your Implant Dentist

Who you choose to restore your missing teeth is just as important as the technique they use. Creating healthy smiles using the best restoration method for missing or damaged natural teeth requires the care of a dental implant expert who is specially trained and skilled in implant dentistry.

Questions to Ask When Selecting an Implant Dentist

  • What’s your education and training in dental implant
  • How many dental implant procedures have you
  • What treatment options do you use to restore
    missing teeth?
  • What steps are involved in the process and where
    and by whom are they performed?

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) provides infor mation, education and training for dentists, periodontists, prostho dontists and oral surgeons who perform surgical and/or restorative procedures. Implant dentists credentialed by the AAID have the training and expertise to assess and provide you with the best possible custom plan and treatment. To find a credentialed AAID Implant Dentist in your area, visit our web site at www.aaid-implant.org.

Common Techniques to Augment Bone


Bone Grafts

Bone grafting is a safe and highly successful procedure that involves “building up” or adding bone to the jaw by using your own natural bone from another location and/or by using donor, processed, or synthetic bone materials.

Bone grafts are often performed in the implant dentist’s office using local anesthesia to numb the areas that will be involved.

After the procedure, you will usually be given anti biotics, pain medication if needed, and an anti bacterial mouthwash. Avoid eating certain foods and putting pressure on the bone graft.

Your implants will be placed after the grafted bone has fused or become a strong, integrated part of the existing bone. The integration may take three or more months, depending on the location of the graft and the density of the bone.

Sinus Lift (Sinus Augmentation or Sinus Elevation)

Upper back teeth are among the most difficult to restore. When the back teeth in the upper jaw are missing the sinus cavity becomes larger as the natural bone deteriorates over time.
A sinus lift, also called sinus augmentation or sinus elevation, is a bone-augmentation procedure for patients who have insufficient natural bone in this area for dental implant placement. The procedure involves adding bone below the sinus so that one or more implants can be placed. The procedure does not affect speech, intonation, or cause sinus problems. After the bone has been given time to develop, usually for approximately four to 12 months, dental implants can be placed.

Ridge Expansion (Ridge Modification)

If the jaw isn’t wide enough to support dental implants, bone graft material can be added to a small ridge, or space, that is created along the top of the jaw.
In some situations implants can be placed right after a ridge expansion. Other situations require approximately four to 12 months to ensure that the ridge has fully healed first.
Ridge expansion also can be used to correct an unattractive and difficult-to-clean indentation that can occur in the jawline near missing teeth.


Erik Eats What He Wants, Worry-Free

Erik was only in his mid-30s when a front tooth that previously had a root canal fractured and had to be removed. Erik chose the dental implant option. A bone graft was performed to fill in the socket where the tooth root had been. Arti – ficial bone supplemented Erik’s natural bone and allowed the implant to be placed.

“With the implant, everything is normal.”

Erik wore a removable denture with a temporary front tooth while the artificial bone integrated with his natural bone. Once the bone was healed, the implant was placed and his implant-supported crown was made.

Another reason Erik said he chose a dental implant over other options was to be able to eat what he wanted. “I wasn’t going to forgo chewing gum, eating apples and corn on the cob,” he said. “I can eat all of that now, no problem.”

“With the implant, you floss and everything is normal. It looks just like a natural tooth. Nobody knows that it’s not a natural tooth. The gum surrounds it perfectly,” he said. “Going to a denture or a bridge I would have always had to worry about stuff sticking in there.” See more about Erik and other dental implant success stories at www.AAID-implant.org

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