Defects in your jawbone can result in inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. To rectify this problem, the gums are moved aside and the defect is then filled with a bone grafting material to restore the natural form of the ridge and allow successful dental implant placement.
Jawbone defects can be caused by developmental defects, past dental infections, tooth or facial injury or trauma, as well as previous difficult tooth extractions where efforts were not made to maintain the bone. Those who have been wearing dentures or had missing teeth for many years, will also often have such severe bone resorption that there is inadequate remaining bone for the placement of dental implants.
Following augmentation of the ridge with bone graft material, the placement of any pins or screws, and covering of the graft with a special barrier membrane several sutures will be placed. Often the graft is allowed to heal for four to eight months before implants are placed. In some cases it is possible to place the dental implants at the same time the ridge is grafted. Ridge modification and bone grafting significantly improves the success rate, function, and final esthetic outcome of dental implants placed in areas of compromised or inadequate bone.
Bone is maintained by the presence of natural teeth or implants (a). Bone loss occurs with the loss of teeth (b).
Conventional dentures may contribute to the loss of bone in the area where teeth are missing. As the image above shows, (a) the presence of natural teeth preserves the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, as in illustration (b), the bone may erode and weaken until it becomes necessary for a bone graft to be placed in order to facilitate dental implant placement. When a missing tooth is replaced by a dental implant, the fusion, or osseointegration, of the implant and bone provides stability, just as the natural tooth did.