Bone Grafting Information
After teeth are lost, the jaw bone in the area begins to resorb or remodel. Over a period of time, this bone loss can become severe, leaving an insufficient amount of bone remaining to place dental implants. Through various bone grafting techniques, bone can be added to these deficient areas, thus regenerating the bone which had been lost. The two most common types of bone grafting procedures performed in the office are called the sinus lift and ridge augmentation.
Sinus Lift Procedure
The maxillary sinuses are air-filled cavities above your back teeth in the upper jaw. Following tooth loss and subsequent bone loss in that area, there is often insufficient bone height in the back of the upper jaw to place dental implants. This procedure involves elevating or “lifting” the lining of the sinus cavity and placing the bone graft onto the sinus floor. This essentially increases the amount of bone above the back of your upper jaw, allowing implants to now be placed.
Alveolar Ridge Augmentation
The alveolar ridge is the part of your jaw that holds the roots of your natural teeth. After tooth loss, the alveolar bone resorbs, leaving a defect in the ridge which must be corrected prior to implant placement. This procedure increases the height and/or width of the ridge by placing a bone graft under the gums in that area. In cases where bone resorption is mild to moderate, it is often possible to perform the bone graft and place the dental implants simultaneously. However, in severe cases, the bone must be grafted prior to implant placement. Then, following a healing period of three to six months, the dental implants can be placed.