What is a Bone Graft or Sinus Lift for Dental Implants?

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Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots that are placed into your jaw during a small surgical procedure, but they do require a certain amount of healthy and strong bone in order to be successful.

Not everyone has sufficient bone, as it can be lost due to disease, or may simply have been reabsorbed if the teeth were extracted quite some time ago. Some people may have healthy bone, but the shape and size of their jaw could mean there is not enough bone to support the implant. In this case the bone will need to be augmented, or built up through having a bone graft.

Procedure for Dental Bone Grafting

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There are two basic types of Bone Grafting for Dental Implants. The most common is after you have a tooth extracted or, if you lost a tooth awhile back, there could be insufficient bone support and thus a Bone Graft is needed. Dr. Duggal will numb the gum before making an incision to expose the area requiring the graft or if the tooth was just extracted then he will gently push the gum back to expose the existing bone. He will then place the graft, anchoring it in place if necessary, before covering it with a membrane and suturing the gum back in place. Bone grafts generally need to be left to heal for several months, although if the amount of bone grafted was relatively small then it may be possible to place the implant at the same time.

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The other common type of Bone Graft for Dental Implants is a Ridge Augmentation, Ridge Enhancement or Split Ridge. Sometimes when a patient has lost their tooth many months or years ago the bone in that area has resorbed (the bone is lost). The remaining bone is too thin to support the Dental Implant. Dr. Duggal would then numb the area where the thin wall is. Gently pull the gum tissue back, pack or place the Bone Graft in place and suture the gum back into place. Sometimes Dr. Duggal will “split” the ridge and pack in the Bone Graft in order to thicken up the bone for the implant. This procedure typically takes 4-7 months to heal. Once integrated or healed the Dental Implant can be placed.

What is a Sinus Lift for Dental Implants?

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A Sinus Lift procedure is very common, and is also called a sinus augmentation. Its purpose is to add height to the bone in the area between your premolars and molars. The bone is added in between your jaw and your sinuses on either side of your nose. The membrane in your sinus is lifted upwards to make room for the additional bone. The bone is placed and allowed to integrate or heal. This type of graft may be necessary if bone has been lost due to disease, although it can also be necessary due to the anatomy of the skull, as there is often less bone in the upper jaw in comparison with the lower jaw. Most of the time the Sinus Lift can be done at the same time as the implant placement, but other times it needs to be performed and then allowed to heal.

Will the Sinus Lift or Bone Graft Hurt?

Though some people experience sensitivity around the extraction site and the implant and sinus lift location, most feel no discomfort at all. We will put you on a precautionary antibiotic and may prescribe you a pain medication to be taken if needed. Those patients who have mentioned some discomfort say it was not nearly as much as when they had a tooth extracted. Usually this soreness can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications.