In order to preserve a deteriorating jawline, often dental implants are recommended to provide stimulation to the jawbone, allowing it to remain strong and maintain its function. When teeth are missing in the two back molar positions or the second premolar in the lower jaw, the alveolar nerve may be compromised upon placement of dental implants. This nerve gives feeling to your lower lip and chin, so putting it at risk is not ideal!

In these specific cases, we recommend nerve-repositioning procedures to aim to preserve this alveolar nerve. This procedure is an intense approach and only performed in a small margin of cases, as the surgery itself may put the nerve at risk. There are other options available if your jaw condition affects the mentioned locations, but in extreme situations nerve repositioning may be a risk worth taking.

During nerve repositioning, an outer section (cheek side) of your lower jawbone is removed so that we can expose the vessel canal and the nerve that runs through it. The nerve is isolated and drawn outward while a dental implant is being placed simultaneously. The nerve with its vessel will be released once the implant is in place and the bone will be replaced with graft material before the incision is closed.

Socket Preservation Procedure

Tooth extraction may often be necessary if any teeth are causing pain, are infected or have been broken or deteriorated. We know that the jawbone can deteriorate from loss of teeth, but the socket where the tooth once lay is also affected by lack of function. If the socket is left without treatment, it may affect the health of your jawbone and also the future ability of your mouth to be able to house dental implants or other forms of tooth replacement.

Preserving the socket bone minimizes bone loss, and there are several techniques that Dr. Elias might use during such a procedure. Most commonly, the affected tooth is removed and the socket immediately filled with either natural bone or a substitute graft material. The socket is covered with tissue so that it is able to repair and heal without the risk of collapse of the gum in the affected area. Preserving the socket is very helpful in offering a strong foundation for future dental implants.

Sinus Lift

When upper molars or wisdom teeth are removed, often the maxillary sinuses (located behind your cheeks, above the upper teeth) are left vulnerable with only a thin bone separating them from the mouth. This bone is too thin to place dental implants to preserve this bone, so often a sinus augmentation, or sinus lift, is necessary.

A sinus lift uses bone grafting to produce bone in the maxillary sinus floor to allow the density for dental implants to be placed.During the procedure, a small incision is made in the molar region to expose the jawbone, through which bone graft material is planted. Over several months, this material bonds with existing bone to grow additional density. This new bone growth gives you the opportunity to place dental implants that can preserve the health of the underlying jawbone.

Ridge Augmentation

Following a tooth extraction, bone loss may affect the natural contour and shape of the gums and jaw in the region. When this occurs, ridge augmentation may help to rebuild the height of the alveolar ridge. While this may not be medically necessary in all cases, if the ridge is affected to the point that it cannot support dental implants, ridge augmentation helps to produce new bone that can act as an anchor for tooth replacement methods and accommodate the implants.

During the procedure, bone graft material is placed in the affected tooth socket immediately after removal of the tooth. Gum tissue is replaced over the site and new bone growth begins. Over a few months, the graft and natural bone fuse to create further bone density and the area will be suitable once again for dental implant placement.

If you have experienced jawbone deterioration and need bone grafting to accommodate for dental implants, call us at the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts to schedule your consultation. Our friendly staff would be happy to answer any questions and address your concerns.