Dental implants are an excellent solution to missing teeth because they are anchored directly into the jawbone. However, many patients lack sufficient jawbone mass for the proper placement of dental implants. These individuals may be candidates for bone grafting. At the dental implants center in San Diego, the surgeon can add bone taken from elsewhere in the patient or allograft material may be used.
Sinus Lift Graft
Sinuses are empty cavities. Your maxillary sinuses are located above your upper teeth. If you undergo extraction of one or more of your upper teeth, there may only be a very thin layer of bone between the mouth and the maxillary sinus. The lack of good bone density in this area can prevent oral surgeons from placing dental implants here without the help of bone augmentation. An oral surgeon can perform a sinus graft to add bone to the area. First, the surgeon gains access to the sinus at the upper tooth extraction site. Then, he or she carefully elevates the sinus membrane and places the bone graft material into the floor of the maxillary sinus cavity. After several months of healing, the area is ready to receive new dental implants. In some cases, it may be possible to perform the bone graft procedure and the dental implant surgery at the same time.
Ridge expansion, also known as ridge modification, is a bone grafting technique that may be used for patients whose jaws aren’t wide enough to anchor dental implants. This can occur if the bone has been reabsorbed by the body. During this procedure, the surgeon uses mechanical means to expand the ridge that extends along the top of the jaw. The surgeon then places bone graft material into this space to create a taller or wider ridge. After allowing a few months for the bone to heal, the surgeon can place dental implants.
One major concern with implant placement into the lower jaw is interference with the inferior alveolar nerve. When this nerve is impinged upon, numbness and pain in the lower jaw will result. These problems may only dissipate very slowly or not at all. If the surgeon must reposition the nerve, it is done very gently. The surgeon must remove part of the lower jaw bone to access the area. After the procedure, this access point is filled with bone graft material.