Major & Minor Bone Grafting

Preserving Your Jaw Bone after Extraction

Several techniques can be used to preserve the bone and minimize bone loss after an extraction. In one common method, the tooth is removed and the socket is filled with bone or bone substitute. It is then covered with gum, artificial membrane, or tissue stimulating proteins to encourage your body’s natural ability to repair the socket. With this method, the socket heals eliminating shrinkage and collapse of surrounding gum and facial tissues. The newly formed bone in the socket also provides a foundation for an implant to replace the tooth. If your dentist has recommended tooth removal, be sure to ask if socket preservation is necessary. This is particularly important if you are planning on replacing the front teeth.


Sinus Lift

The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone. 


Onlay Bone Grafting

Onlay bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using the patient’s own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of the defect.  The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee). 


Alveolar Ridge Expansion

In situations where severe resorption of the bony alveolar ridge has left a narrow inadequate platform for implant placement, ridge expansion can be used to improve the area. This is a technique used to restore the lost bone width.

In this procedure, the bony ridge is carefully cut lengthwise and opened, expanded the width by mechanical means. Bone graft material can be placed in between the two sides of the expanded ridge. After maturing for a few months, implants can be placed. Frequently though, implants can be place at the same time the ridge is expanded reducing total healing and treatment time. This type of expansion is typically very predictable and stabile due to preservation of the blood supply to the bone flap.