Bone Grafting for Dental Implants
After dental extraction, the height and width of the bone begins to resorb, or decrease, in a predictable fashion. The best way to maintain the bone needed for functional and esthetic dental implant restoration is to perform a procedure called "site preservation". This involves bone grafting placed at the time of extraction or shortly thereafter. This procedure maintains the volume of the jawbone as the extraction site heals.
You may need bone grafting if the sinus cavities in your upper jaw are very large, or very low, and extend into the tooth-bearing areas. This often occurs when teeth in the back of a person’s upper jaw have been removed many years before, and the amount of bone available for implant placement is limited. A “sinus grafting procedure” is then required. During this procedure, the membrane that lines the sinus will be located and elevated. Bone will then be added to restore the bone height and ensure that dental implants of an adequate length can be placed. This procedure often can be performed at the time of implant placement or in a separate procedure depending on the degree of grafting required.
There may be inadequate bone for implant placement if your tooth was removed many years ago and your bony ridge is extremely thin. In this case, a bone graft can be placed next to the thin bone and allowed to heal for up to six months. After the graft has fused to your pre-existing bone, the ridge will be re-entered and the implant placed. Bone grafting is usually a relatively comfortable office procedure. Many different bone-grafting materials are available, including your own bone.