Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or shrinks in size. This often results in a condition in which there is insufficient quality and quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants. With modern techniques, we now have the ability to grow bone where needed. These surgical procedures now afford us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, while also providing the restoration of function, and simultaneously improving the patient's appearance. Many of these procedures are accomplished with surgery limited to the oral cavity, thus avoiding any facial scars. The two most common bone graft procedures are as follows:
Sinus lift procedure
This procedure involves elevating the sinus floor, restoring the bone to where it was prior to the loss of the patient's teeth. In most cases thebone is harvested from the patient's mouth simplifying the procedure, which can be accomplished utilizing either local or general anesthesia. After allowing for an appropriate period of healing, implants are placed in the back part of the upper jaw, restoring the patient's natural dentition.
The premature loss of teeth without replacement will in many cases result in shrinking of the bone due to the phenomenon of disuse atrophy. Replacement of teeth with dental implants becomes difficult, unless the bone can be restored to its previous condition. Several techniques can be utilized using the patient's own bone and/or other graft materials to restore the lost anatomy. Some of these procedures can be done simultaneous with implant placement, while in more severe cases, they require a period of healing prior to implant placement.