New Bio-Patch Could Benefit People Needing Dental Implants
If you’re missing teeth then you may be considering dental implants. In Richmond, here at Sheen Dental we regularly recommend dental implants which act as a substitute tooth root to support crowns, dentures and bridges. For many people the process is relatively straightforward, but for others where there is insufficient bone in their jaw to place the implants, then our surgeon may suggest that bone grafting is carried out first.
It is possible to rebuild the jaw using bone taken from another part of the body; usually the hip and this will require a short stay in hospital. This process is known as a major bone graft and will be carried out under a general anaesthetic. The procedure involves first exposing the underlying gum to assess how much bone is required and then stitching it back up. The relevant amount of bone is then taken from the hip and transferred to the necessary site and fixed in place with screws. This involves exposing the gum area once more and preparing it for the graft, after which it is stitched back in place and allowed to heal. Once your surgeon is happy that the graft has been a success and the site has fully healed, then the next stage of the dental implant can go ahead.
Are there any alternatives?
Typically, a patient’s own bone is likely to perform better because there is less risk of their body rejecting it. However, in some cases synthetic substances, bone from other humans or even from animals (usually cows) may be used. A surgeon may even use a mixture of synthetic bone and a patient’s own bone taken from the mouth to build up the bone to a similar level where it was before the tooth was missing, or in order to improve the bone and gum so that it looks better.
However, dental technology is constantly evolving and just recently researchers from the University of Iowa have created a patch which can regenerate damaged or missing bone. It works by placing DNA cells which are responsible for bone production on to a collagen patch (used for tissue engineering) which is then placed over the implant area, covering existing bone cells. Results showed that with the addition of the genetic information, the growth of bone and soft tissue was 44 times greater than in an area where just the collagen patch alone was used. The researchers say this discovery could help to build more bone in a surrounding area of the jaw which has insufficient bone as well as to rebuild bone in the gum area to act as a stable foundation for the implants. Due to the way the DNA is placed, there is less chance of any unwanted side effects, the patch is easy to mass produce, and consequently the costs will be lowered.
While we may not currently be using a bio-patch for dental implants in Richmond, we constantly strive to offer the best techniques and procedures to all of our patients, so watch this space. Meanwhile if you’d like to find out more about dental implants and whether you are a candidate, then why not book a free consultation by phoning 020 8876 5277 or visiting our website at www.sheendental.co.uk where you can meet Dr Harmit Kalsi and his team.