Tried-And-Tested, Safe and Often Necessary: Bone Augmentation

The body begins to break down the jawbone when it is no longer needed to keep teeth in place. This means that tooth loss leads to bone resorption. The speed of resorption can vary from patient to patient.

In many patients, bone resorption results in the jawbone being inadequate as a site for implants. To be able to insert implants, the implantologist must first build the jawbone back up to its original size.

In minor cases of bone resorption, the bone can augmented in the same session that the implant is fitted. If the bone resorption is more advanced, the bone must be restored as a separate initial step.

Bone augmentation is a relatively risk-free intervention, and one that patients have no need to be fearful of. If you are considering an implant-based restoration, don’t let the idea of bone augmentation put you off.

Sinus Lift

To build up the bone in the posterior region of the maxilla, the implantologist uses a procedure known as a “sinus lift”. This involves “lifting” the maxillary sinus using a mixture of autogenous bone material and bone substitute material.

Use of Patient’s Own Bone Material

Autogenous bone material (that is, bone material from the patient’s own body) is the best thing to use. Bone chips can be harvested during the drilling of the implant bed and used for the subsequent bone augmentation procedure. If larger amounts of autogenous bone material are required, they can be taken from areas such as the chin. The extracted bone can be replaced by bone substitute material.

Bone Substitute Material

At the Dentaprime Clinic, we use bone substitute material from the brand Bio-Oss. The bone-building cells, which are known as “osteoblasts”, adhere to the matrix of the material and form new bone. The pore structure of Bio-Oss is similar to that of human bone. It has been used in orthopaedics for more than 20 years and investigated in more than 100 clinical studies, where it has consistently proven its effectiveness and suitability.

If necessary, the newly-filled space is sealed with a membrane to give the bones chance to form undisturbed. The membrane is resorbable and is thus completely broken down by the body.

The new bones form over a period of six to nine months. The formation of new bone creates a suitable implant site and enables the implantologist to insert the implants as soon as the area has healed. If the need for bone augmentation is minor, the implant can be inserted at the same time as the augmentation procedure is carried out. In such cases, the remaining natural bone (in which 2/3 of the implant will be anchored) is sufficient to ensure stability.

Bone augmentation is among the most sophisticated of all orthopaedic techniques and places high demands on the clinician. Experience counts for everything!