Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there are poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants unless the bone is restored. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons will help patients with this condition.
Dental bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries. The bone is obtained from your own bone and transferred to the site that is deficient. Most commonly the bone is removed from your jaw in the area where your wisdom teeth would be. Occasionally grafts for dental surgery are taken from the hip or tibia (below the knee). Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. Our surgeons also utilize advanced technology in bone healing by the use of INFUSE®. This is a system that uses recombinant bone morphogenic protein instead of your own bone.
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
There is a dental bone grafting solution, and it’s called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The dental implant surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and bone or INFUSE® recombinant bone morphogenic protein is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw, and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the dental bone grafting has matured, the implants can be placed.