Bone Augmentation is a technical term in dental surgery.

A bone augmentation is required on the affected jaw region

A bone augmentation is required on the affected jaw region

This dental term describes various methods of adding bone material, in case there is a lack thereof in the jaw.

Lack of bone in the jaw may have various causes. For example, after the removal of a cyst a ‘localized lack of bone’ may occur. In the animation you can see a cavity in the bone immediately after the removal of a cyst. Usually this will fill with blood emerging from the sides and this blood will be transformed into bone.

With large cysts this process may be disturbed as the resulting blood clot pulls itself together in proportion to its size. The blood clot will therefore get smaller the larger the space in the bone is. If the space is too large the blood clot will then shrink so much that it will no longer have any contact with the bone walls. Blood vessels will then no longer be able to grow out from the bone walls into the blood clot – and this is a necessary requirement for bone regeneration. A transformation of the blood clot into bone tissue is therefore no longer possible and a lack of bone results. Such a lack of bone is not suitable for, for example, implants and in addition this missing bone can also lead to pain especially in the case of large cavities in the bone.

In order to avoid these kinds of complications, where there is a big lack of bone, as shown here in the animation, this should be filled in immediately after the cyst removal with bone replacement material. The blood clot will thus not collapse into itself. That’s one example of bone augmentation.

Another example of bone augmentation would be for loss of bone due to periodontitis. Here you see a tooth isolated from the bone which has retreated. Such isolation cases respond well to reconstruction with replacement bone material. The mucosa is folded to one side, bone replacement material is inserted and the wound sutured. Some weeks later the filled in area is transformed into bone. This is another example of bone augmentation, in this case to treat a tooth rather than to create a place for an implant.

In the film you see now an example of bone augmentation after cyst removal. The gums have just been folded to the side, a small bone window has been put in and the cyst body has been removed. You can see how the cavity gradually fills with blood. Now bone replacement material is placed in the space in order to support the regeneration of the bone. Since the skin of the bone (periost) hasn’t been injured in the operation a membrane serving as a protective barrier to connective tissue cells will be avoided. The periost is the best protection against incoming connective tissue cells . The gradual development of bone cells into bone is thus assured. The mucosa will be sutured and according to the replacement material and the size of the cavity the bone will rebuild itself in 2 to 6 months.

Alternatives to the planned operations depend on the respective indications. One may, of course, forego augmentation, with the respective possible consequences.

With an experienced practitioner the risks of such an operation are negligible. Nevertheless complications occasionally occur which make further measures necessary. With every necessary further measure there is a further possibility of complications which could even progress to become life-threatening. Here only the particular complications of an augmentation are mentioned and these are:

  • With the use of foreign material there is a danger of introducing illnesses
  • Failure of the augmentation to heal
  • Inflammation in the augmentation

Fortunately due to the positive developments in medicine in the last decades such complications have become very rare.

Click here to see the video: Bone Augmentation


This post is also available in: German

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