Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is resorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. Until recently, these patients were not good candidates for placement of dental implants.
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. The bone is usually obtained from a tissue bank.
Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore function as well as esthetic appearance.
Sinus lift procedure
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. The sinus is like an empty room. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up to the maxillary sinus. 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.
There is a solution and it's called a sinus graft or sinus lift procedure. The dental implant surgeon approaches the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward, but not entered, and donor bone is inserted between the floor of the sinus and the dental bone. After healing, more growth is developed and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new 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.