Bone augmentation is a type of oral surgery that may be performed using several different techniques. It is done to replace lost mass in the jawbone. Patients who have had one or more teeth missing for several years may experience the receding of the jawbone. In order to replace these missing teeth with dental implants, the bone must first be replaced.
The oral surgeon can use a bone graft to add more mass to the area. An autogenous bone graft is the most common type used. This involves taking bone from one part of the patient's body and grafting it onto the jawbone. The hip is commonly used to harvest this material.
An allograft bone augmentation procedure uses human bone taken from another donor, instead of from the patient. The material, which is usually donated by human cadavers, is first thoroughly sterilized and tested before being transferred to the patient. Gradually, it then absorbs or assimilates into the patient's natural jawbone.
The third bone augmentation approach is the alloplastic technique. This is a synthetic, or man-made graft, that is composed of calcium phosphate. A fourth approach to this surgery is a xenograft. The material for this procedure is donated by animals, usually cows. Gradually, the body can replace this grafted material with natural bone in a process called osteoinduction.
Sometimes, a bone graft can fail. This may be caused by an infection or an unstable graft. Patients who smoke may increase their risk of this occurring. To fix this problem, the patient will need to have the first graft removed. After a recovery period, the oral surgeon may try again.
A sinus lift is another technique that may be used for bone augmentation. It is typically used when the tooth implants are to be placed in the rear of the upper jaw. If the sinus wall, or the upper jaw's roof, is too thin, it will be unable to support implants. To perform this type of bone augmentation, the surgeon will elevate the sinus membrane before placing a bone graft on the sinus wall.
Another technique of bone augmentation is called a ridge expansion. This is an option for patients with jaws that are not wide enough. The oral surgeon will split the jaw on the top ridge. He can then place a bone graft on the area.
In order to select the ideal bone augmentation technique for a patient, the oral surgeon will typically evaluate the individual's needs and state of his jaw. The patient should discuss his preferences. He should also ask the surgeon about potential risks before undergoing a surgical procedure.