After teeth are lost, the
jawbone 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.