Restore Bone to Weakened Maxillofacial Regions

Proper dental implant placement requires that the bone that supports teeth is healthy and properly shaped for the implant. When a tooth is missing, the jaw bone shortens and narrows over time. In these and other situations, bone grafting may be required to rebuild or maintain the supporting bone, to allow for successful placement of dental implants.

At Southern Oral & Facial Surgery, we offer several bone grafting treatments to help patients with varying needs become candidates for implant-supported procedures. Our surgeons design a custom treatment plan for every patient to ensure optimum, personalized results.

What Is a Bone Graft?

A bone graft fills a space with bone or a bone substitute, and your body replaces that material with your own bone over time. The graft material can be borrowed from another place in your own mouth, or it is obtained from a tissue bank. Graft materials have been proven to be safe and predictable. A bone graft is usually a straightforward procedure and is often performed at the same time as the dental implant placement.

All of our surgeons at Southern Oral & Facial Surgery are board-certified or board eligible and are experienced in many bone grafting procedures. We will discuss the treatment that is right for you. At your consultation, we will take 3D scans of your mouth and perform an oral examination prior to designing your treatment plan.

A sinus lift restores or replaces bone behind the upper back teeth to allow for successful dental implant placement.

Types of Bone Graft Procedures

Socket Preservation

When a tooth is removed, the socket typically fills in with new bone. In certain situations, the natural healing process alone may not create an ideal environment for a dental implant. In these cases, a small bone graft is placed at the time of tooth removal to improve the bone quality and health before implant placement. A socket preservation graft typically does not add to your recovery time and may allow for earlier replacement of your tooth with a dental implant.

Sinus Lift

We all have anatomic structures called sinuses, which are hollow areas behind the cheeks and above the upper back teeth. If the bone that normally separates the teeth from the sinus is thin, a procedure called a sinus augmentation, also known as a sinus lift, may be necessary to support dental implants in these areas. The purpose of a sinus lift is to increase the volume of the bone that will support your dental implant.

Your oral surgeon uses special instruments to make a small opening next to the sinus and then carefully lifts the sinus lining away from the bone above the teeth. This creates a small space between the bone and the sinus lining where bone graft material is placed. The graft material is incorporated by your body and is replaced with your own natural bone over time, allowing one or more dental implants to be firmly secured by healthy bone. Dental implants are often placed at the same time as a sinus lift procedure, but in certain situations, a sinus lift procedure will need to be performed before dental implants can be placed.

Ridge Expansion

The alveolar bone is a special type of bone that surrounds and supports teeth and dental implants. When teeth are missing, the alveolar bone has the appearance of a ridge, which will naturally narrow over time, especially when teeth in the area have been missing for an extended period of time. If this is the case for you, your surgeon may recommend that you have a ridge expansion procedure. A ridge expansion widens the jaw to provide enough bone to support a dental implant. To perform a ridge expansion, your oral surgeon will use your natural alveolar ridge and add bone graft material to widen the supporting bone for future dental implants.

Nerve Repositioning

In situations where dental implant placement might not otherwise be feasible, nerve repositioning is a unique procedure that allows for safe dental implant placement in the lower jaw. Our lip and chin receive sensation from a nerve called the inferior alveolar nerve, which runs through the lower jaw. We can see the position of this nerve on X-rays. If the position of this nerve puts it at risk for damage during dental implant placement, it may need to be repositioned. This treatment can often be performed at the same time that your dental implants are placed. During the procedure, the nerve is isolated and carefully moved aside for the implant to be positioned. A bone graft is often necessary for optimal healing.

Helping More Tennesseans Become Candidates for Dental Implants

Many people whose jaws could not support dental implants in the past can now have implants placed and restore their oral health thanks to bone grafting procedures. To learn more about how bone grafting can help you regain your smile, contact Southern Oral & Facial Surgery today; we would be happy to schedule you a consultation at one of our convenient office locations in Franklin, TN, and Thompson’s Station, TN.

Types of Anesthesia

There are several anesthesia options available so patients can feel comfortable and at ease during treatment.

A local anesthetic is administered in the specific surgical area and can be used in conjunction with other anesthetic options, such as nitrous oxide. The patient remains awake and only the surgical area is numbed, so the patient can still drive home after.

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is administered through a mask when patients experience anxiety before the procedure. It provides mild pain-relieving effects and induces a relaxed state. Your surgeon can pair laughing gas with local anesthesia.

IV sedation renders a sleep-like state in which patients do not feel pain. This is commonly used in dental implant placement and the removal of wisdom teeth. General anesthesia, which renders the patient unconscious, is reserved for complex procedures, such as facial trauma or jaw surgery.