Today there is an increasing amount of people who choose to have their teeth replaced with dental implants. In some cases the replacement is immediate meaning that once teeth are removed, during the same surgery implants are placed to replace those previous teeth. The advantage of replacing a tooth with an implant at the time of extraction is that the amount of bone loss at the site of extraction is greatly minimized. However for most people the decision or option to have their teeth replaced comes long after their teeth were lost, and after years of wearing removable partials, dentures or having fixed bridges anchored to adjacent teeth. The problem often encountered in such cases is that the bone in the area where the teeth have been missing shrinks and there is significant loss of volume and height making it challenging to place implants . A bone augmentation or reconstruction procedure is then necessary and occasionally must be done prior to and in preparation for implant placement, this is what is commonly called a bone graft.
When situations of bone loss or long term absence of teeth present themselves the first step is to obtain the proper information for accurate diagnosis. A clinical and ultra low radiation 3D X-ray is taken of the jaw to be treated, the x-ray unit we use in our practice is called a Cone Beam CT Scan (CBCT) and it provides an accurate view and analysis of the problem. The slide show below shows how by means of clinical pictures and dental CT scan we are able not only to plan the volume of bone that needs to be augmented but also with a second scan assess the success of the bone graft.