Reconstructive Jaw Surgery

When a tooth is lost (or never developed), the jawbone is no longer stimulated by chewing forces, and the jawbone in the area begins to melt away – a process called resorption. This progressive bone loss weakens the jawbone, and may complicate eventual implant placement.

Missing teeth also allow neighboring and opposing teeth to drift or tip over into the empty space.

Missing lower teeth have allowed drifting and tipping and hyper-eruption.
It is always best to have missing teeth replaced, even if they are in the back of the mouth where most people cannot see. Here’s why. When back teeth are lost, the chewing forces are transferred to the more delicate front teeth, which can quickly wear down. This process, called attrition, makes front teeth shorter and shorter until they are lost altogether. The shape of the face also becomes progressively shorter and more square and aged-looking because the jaws have developed an over-closed posture. Missing back teeth can also cause clicking, pain, locking, or arthritis of the jaw joints.
Significant wear of front teeth because of missing back teeth.

Bone Graft Reconstruction

After teeth are lost, the jawbone immediately begins to resorb and shrink. To prevent this, a bone graft is placed into the socket at the time of extraction. Timely extraction of hopeless teeth is also very important. Delaying extraction of diseased teeth can lead to greater bone loss, requiring more extensive bone graft reconstruction.

Deficient or resorbed areas of the jaw can be reconstructed or augmented using your own harvested bone, human donor bone, or synthetic human bone growth hormone (BMP). Most bone augmentation procedures are minor and can be done simultaneously with the implant placement. If the jaw bone has areas of severe resorption, the bone graft must be allowed to heal for several months before implants can be placed.

Implants placed in conjunction with bone augmentation in the sinus lift procedure.

When upper molar teeth are lost, the sinus cavities lying just above the sockets commonly enlarges and extends into the area where the tooth roots used to be. A specialized grafting procedure called a sinus lift bone augmentation may be needed to restore jawbone height and allow for ideal implant treatment. This simple procedure is commonly needed in order to replace missing back teeth on the upper jaw.