Alveolar Distraction Osteogenesis for Dental Implants

Dental implants have become the single most predictable procedure that dentistry has to offer. Today dental implants are 97 to 99% successful in the vast majority of patients.

For dental implants to be successful they need to have the proper foundation of bone and soft tissue. Unfortunately, many patients who would benefit greatly from dental implants present to the oral surgeon with insufficient quality and quantity of bone and/or soft tissue.

Distraction osteogenesis surgery can be used in many cases to generate sufficient quantity of bone height and width to provide the appropriate foundation for dental implants. In most cases the need for bone grafts is eliminated and the time to dental implant placement is markedly reduced. Distraction osteogenesis surgery also provides the patient with a suitable band of soft tissue around the dental implant and thus, in many cases, eliminates the need for expensive gingival grafting before implant placement.

The procedure is done in the oral surgeon’s office under sedation or general anesthesia. The bone is cut to provide a suitable segment of bone to distract and then the distraction device is affixed to the bone. A small part of the device is left protruding through the gum to serve as an activation arm of the distractor.

After about a week of healing the patient returns to the office for activation of the device. This will be done almost daily until the jaw is of the appropriate height for dental implants. Approximately 12 weeks after the distraction is completed the dental implants can be placed.