Bone Grafting for Implants

Do I Have Enough Bone?

Socket Preservation: After tooth extraction, if the walls of the bony socket are very thick, they will usually fill naturally with bone in two to three months. However, when the walls of your socket are very thin (such as in your upper and lower front teeth) or there has been damage to the bone due to infection etc., this type of healing will not be as predictable. In these situations, a bone graft is often placed at the time of tooth extraction to help your body fill in the empty socket with bone. This step will maintain the width and volume of bone you will need for implant placement several months later.  Implant placement is determined by where the tooth/teeth need to be, NOT where the available bone exists.

An example of a jaw with inadequate front bone structure to support a dental implant
1. Inadequate Bone
A depiction of bone grafting material placed to increase the bone structure
2. Graft Material Placed
A representation of dental implants placed after bone grafting
3. Implants Placed

Ridge Augmentation: There may be inadequate bone for implant placement if your tooth was removed many years ago or a graft was not placed at the time of extraction. This can cause 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 four 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.

A jaw lacking enough bone in the back of the mouth for a dental implant
1. Inadequate Bone
An example of a dental implant placed after adding jaw structure with bone grafting
2. Graft Material and Implant Placed

Sinus Lift:  You may also need bone grafting if the sinus cavities in your upper jaw have become  enlarged, or are 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. Most often, it is performed in the office with local anesthesia and perhaps sedation. 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 (indirect sinus lift).  If a more significant amount of bone is required, then the lift may be completed prior to implant placement (direct sinus lift).

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At Tennessee Valley Periodontics, we strive to provide the highest quality state-of-the-art periodontal care, while individualizing treatment to each patient’s needs.

Call us: 423-893-0557