Jawbone Grafting: Minor vs. Major Oral Surgery Procedures

Jawbone grafting is commonly required for dental implant patients, but it’s certainly nothing to fear!

Many dental restorations, especially permanent implants, require an adequate volume of Jawbone Graftingbone tissue in the jaw to provide the necessary support. Unfortunately, aging, tooth loss and gum disease are just some of the factors that can contribute to bone loss.

Fortunately, transplanting bone tissue into the jaw from other parts of the body or from a tissue bank provides a solid foundation for dental implants.

Major Jawbone Grafting

When a traumatic injury, congenital defect or tumor surgery leaves a patient with a defect in the jaw, a major bone graft may be necessary. Larger and more extensive than minor procedures, major grafts are routinely performed in a surgery center or regular operating room under general anesthesia, and may warrant a brief hospital stay.

In most cases, bone tissue for these grafts is harvested from the patient’s body, often from the skull, hip or knee.

Sinus Lift and Ridge Expansion Procedures

The maxillary sinuses are located above the upper teeth behind the cheeks. When upper teeth are removed, only a thin wall of bone remains. This sometimes isn’t enough to hold the dental implants securely in place, so jawbone grafting may be necessary.

With a sinus lift procedure, the sinus membrane is brought upward to allow the insertion of bone tissue. After a few months of healing, the graft is stable enough to facilitate the secure placement of implants.

If the bony ridge of the jaw is too thin to support dental implants, a graft is performed to restore bone dimension. With a ridge expansion procedure, bone tissue is implanted to increase the height and/or width of the jaw ridge and to create a solid foundation for the replacement teeth.

Nerve Repositioning

When patients require dental implants in the lower jaw, the surgeon may find it necessary to move the inferior alveolar nerve to make room for the permanent restorations.

Nerve repositioning may be indicated if implants are to replace the back molars or the second premolars. This procedure is considered to be aggressive, as post-operative numbness may persist over time. Consequently, your oral surgeon may consider other options first, such as the placement of blade implants.

We typically perform minor bone grafting procedures, including sinus lift, ridge expansion and nerve repositioning, in an outpatient surgical center. These procedures require IV sedation or general anesthesia, but patients can go home the day of surgery in most cases.

The dental professionals at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah are both trained and experienced in all the latest jawbone grafting techniques used to ensure the stability and longevity of dental implants. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss jawbone grafting and permanent implants.