The most obvious effect of missing teeth is an unsightly gap in your smile, but tooth loss also has hidden consequences. It leads to degeneration of the alveolar bone that surrounds and supports teeth. This shrinkage causes a number of problems, one of which includes poor quality or quantity of bone for implant procedures. Fortunately, for patients looking to restore their smile, there is still hope. Though the need for bone grafts is significantly reduced, it still allows Dr. Castle to promote bone growth and build up a suitable underlying structure where it is needed. This procedure restores functionality and esthetic appearance and is something you should seriously consider if your tooth has been missing for an extended period of time.
Relationship Between Teeth and Bone
The health of your teeth relies heavily on jaw bone health and vice versa. In the same way muscles need exercise to stay strong, bone requires regular stimulation from teeth through activities like biting and chewing. When teeth are missing, the bone no longer receives stimulation and starts to resorb or melt away. The bone loses width and height and the gum tissue also decreases. Neighboring teeth shift, loosen and can even fall out of place. The more teeth lost the more bone loss and loss of function. After the loss of alveolar bone comes the loss of the basal bone, the one beneath it. The face begins to collapse as does the bite. This is why anchoring teeth with implants is so important.
What are the Types of Bone Grafts?
Depending on your needs, we now have different treatments to replace bone where it is missing. They all have risks and benefits, and Dr. Castle will determine which type is best for your needs. These treatments include:
Autogenous Bone Grafts
Also called autografts, the bone from this procedure is taken from somewhere else in your body. Usually, it comes from the chin or back of the jaw, but it also can come from the lower leg bone, hip or even skull. The advantage of these bone grafts is that they come from your own living bone, a perfect match as well as living cellular elements to promote bone growth. One drawback is this procedure requires two appointments: one to harvest the bone and one to place it.
Allogenic Bone Grafts
These non-living grafts from human sources do not grow but rather serve as a framework for your natural bone to grow over and fill the void or defects. Regeneration takes longer than with autogenous bone grafts and is not as predictable.
Xenogenic Bone Grafts
Today, we can even use processed bone from different species, mostly cows. They are comprised only of the mineral content of natural bone processed at very high temperatures until it is sterilized and free of organic material. Again, like allogenic bone grafts, these simply work as a frame for natural bone.
Demineralized Bone Matrix (DBM)
In addition to real bone, there are also many synthetic materials the dentist can use as an alternative. This material is allogenic bone processed with collagen, proteins and growth factors. It usually comes in the form of powder, putty, chips or gel.
These grafts consist of bone like materials and growth factors including: collagen and ceramic composite, DBM and bone marrow cells. When placed these materials aid in the growth of new bone.
Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs)
These proteins are naturally produced by the body to promote and regulate bone formation and healing. Recently the FDA approved the use of BMPs and works by signaling stem cells to migrate to the area and eliminates the need for a donor.
What Are Different Bone Grafting Procedures?
Just as there are various materials, there are also other procedures depending on location and density. These are commonly performed in an operating room and often require a hospital stay. The three main bone grafting procedures include:
For this procedure, the surgeon lifts the gum tissue away from the ridge and exposes defects in the bone. Then he or she fills the void with the graft material to help build up the width and height of the ridge. This improves both esthetics and chances for a successful implant.
The maxillary sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces located behind your cheeks above your teeth. When an upper tooth falls out, the bone deteriorates and after awhile there is only a thin wall between the sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone. For a sinus lift, the surgeon seeks to grow bone in the floor of the sinus to enable the secure placement of dental implants.
The alveolar ridge is the jaw bone that surrounds the tooth roots. Usually when a tooth is removed, the empty socket can fill with some bone and tissue. However, in some cases, the bone cannot heal on its own due extraction or infection. With ridge augmentation, the dentist strives to recreate the natural structure of bones and gum. For this procedure, the dentist places graft material in the empty tooth socket immediately after the tooth is removed.
Once bone density is restored Dr. Castle can place a dental implant to restore your smile. To learn more call us at 937-335-8014 to see if you are a candidate.