Accidents, trauma, and serious illnesses like cancer can leave you with serious damages to the bones and soft tissues of your face, affecting your ability to smile, eat, talk, blink, breathe or see. Thankfully, plastic surgeons have found ways to reconstruct damaged facial structures to restore a patient’s facial appearance and functions. One of the most common surgical procedures for facial reconstruction is bone grafting. Continue reading to learn more about bone grafting and facial reconstruction.

Types of Bone Grafts for Facial Reconstruction

For a long time, the standard method of reconstructing a damaged face has been bone grafting. But there are different types of bone grafts for facial reconstruction. The type of bone graft your doctor recommends depends on the part of your face that needs reconstruction.

Ridge Augmentation

This procedure is necessary for reconstructing a natural gum and jawline, especially after tooth extraction. Once the problematic tooth has been extracted, your dentist or oral surgeon may be required to do ridge augmentation to shape the jaw and restore the lost bone. Apart from tooth extraction, you can also experience bone loss due to periodontal disease or other illnesses that weaken the integrity of your jawbone.

Alveolar ridges, also referred to as alveolar margins, are the ridges that hold the alveoli of your teeth. Alveoli are the small sockets that hold the roots of the teeth. When a tooth is removed, these sockets may break or fail to heal properly on their own, resulting in ridge augmentation before a dental implant is placed. This augmentation helps to amplify or widen an atrophied jaw ridge.

Sinus Lift

Also referred to as maxillary sinus floor augmentation, a sinus lift is a surgical procedure through which the amount of bone in your upper jaw bone, just beneath your sinus, increases. This type of bone grafting is generally done in the area between your premolar and molar teeth, and it involves lifting the lower sinus membrane and placing the bone graft.

When you lose a tooth, the alveolar is immediately remodeled, and the empty socket collapses, reducing the height and width of the jawbone. So, before a dental implant is placed, you have to undergo a sinus lift.

Nerve Repositioning

Also referred to as nerve lateralization, nerve repositioning is a surgical procedure through which an inferior alveolar nerve is redirected to allow the placement of a longer dental implant in a mandible whose posterior ridge has resorbed. Therefore, relocation of the nerve is the only way an implant can be placed. This type of nerve repositioning requires bone grafting to generate an extra jawbone.