Consequences of Missing Teeth
Unfortunately when a tooth is removed the associated jawbone may be lost. Furthermore, when patients are missing teeth for a long time the amount of bone loss is accelerated when the patient chews food and applies pressure to the gum tissue and underlying bone. Patients wearing dentures transmit a significant amount of biting pressure directly to the gum tissue and underlying bone and experience a greater degree of bone loss over time. We often encourage our patients to think of removable dentures as a temporary solution and that they should proceed with dental implant therapy as soon as possible to limit the amount of hard and soft tissue loss.
Patients can envision the process of tissue loss by thinking of a bar of soap placed in a hot shower. Over time the bar of soap melts away until almost nothing remains. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, patients usually require bone and and soft tissue grafting or may no longer be a candidate for dental implants.
Today, we have the ability to grow bone in many areas of the mouth. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Bone grafting can repair areas with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, injuries, or extended wear of removable dentures. Bone grafting may be completed at the time of extraction to preserve existing bone volume. Bone grafting may also be completed as a separate procedure after extraction but before implant placement to significantly increase the available volume of bone by adding thickness to the jawbone, or by adding significant bone height in the maxillary sinus. Lastly, bone grafting may be completed at the time of implant placement to slightly augment the implant site locally.
Unlike other surgeons Dr. Laudenbach does not harvest bone from your jawbone, skull, or hip to accomplish your bone augmentation. Instead Dr. Laudenbach is able to simplify your recovery period with the use of prepared bone graft materials and bone regenerative growth factors.
Dr. Laudenbach utilizes a variety of processed bone graft materials depending upon your particular need for bone augmentation in a particular area of the mouth including: human cadaver bone, equine bone, bovine bone, and synthetic bone. Although synthetic bone seems like the safest possibly treatment option, it has the least research and is the least likely material to be processed into bone by your body. Rest assured, the bone graft materials selected by Dr. Laudenbach are processed carefully to remove any active proteins, viruses, bacteria, etc. When a sample of any of these materials is processed, a sample from each batch or “lot” is tested carefully prior to packaging and release to our office. To date there has been no recorded transmission of any active protein, virus, bacteria, etc. Dr. Laudenbach approves of these materials and would utilize them with his own family members as needed.
Lastly, bone healing is a slow process. Consider how a cut through your skin on the back of your hand heals in approximately 7-14 days. Alternatively, a broken wrist or long-bone will take many weeks to months before the bone heals completely. This difference in healing time reflects the slow nature of bone wound healing. In order to address this disparity in healing, a collagen barrier membrane is often utilized with modern bone grafting techniques to prevent soft tissue from infiltrating the particulate bone grafting material. These barrier membranes are typically made of Type I collagen from a bovine or porcine source.
Dr. Laudenbach will select the most applicable bone graft materials for your care, but will honor any personal, ethical, or religious restrictions that you may have.