Bone grafting & sinus lift
Some patients who have lost some or all of their natural teeth may also have suffered bone resorption (bone loss), which happens when teeth have been missing some time. The jaw bone in the affected area will over time begin to shrink back and dissolve. Resorption can also be a side effect of advanced gum disease (periodontitis) and of wearing unsecured dentures for a long period. Bone loss also occurs to a degree as part of the natural ageing process.
If you have suffered bone resorption, you may think you cannot have dental implants. However, in many cases it's still possible to have implants fitted; you will just need a little more preparation in the shape of a bone graft or sinus lift to rebuild the bone in the affected jaw.
Your bone density will be checked during your free dental implant consultation, using x-rays to establish whether you have enough bone to successfully support the implants. Should you be found to be in need of a bone graft or sinus lift, our implant dentist Patrick Rea will explain the procedure and include it in your personal treatment plan.
It may sound scary, but in reality, it's fairly simple. In most cases we take a small amount of bone from another site within your mouth, because using your own tissue is more likely to be successful. If we can't use your own bone tissue, we can use donor human or animal material to rebuild your jaw.
After a bone graft, you will require a healing period of a few weeks or months before final implants can be placed.
If you have a low bone density and are in need of implants to replace your upper back teeth, you may need a procedure called a sinus lift. Again, this is a relatively common and simple procedure, because the jaw bone here is often shallow, and again it will be highlighted and addressed at your free implant consultation.
During this procedure, the lining of the sinus is lifted up and your implants are placed, before bone and osteoconductive material (material that is supportive of bone growth) is packed around the implants.