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.
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.
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.