Do I Have Enough Bone?
As stated earlier, after tooth extraction, if the walls of your socket are very thick, they will usually fill with bone in three months. However, if the walls of your socket are very thin (such as in your upper and lower front teeth), then this type of healing will not be as predictable. After waiting three months for the bone to fill in, you may have only a very thin ridge of bone. Sometimes, we place a bone graft at the time of tooth extraction to best aid in your body attempt to fill in the socket with bone.
This step will maintain the width or volume of bone you'll need for implant placement and is commonly performed on very thin-walled extraction sockets, especially in such visible areas as the front of the mouth. If your tooth was removed many years ago, then your bony ridge may be extremely thin and you may not have enough bone left for implant placement. In this case, we will place a bone graft next to the thin bone and allow it to heal for three to nine months.
After the graft has fused to your pre-existing bone, we will re-enter the ridge and place the implant. Bone grafting is usually a relatively comfortable procedure. We can use many different bone grafting materials, such as man-made bone which we will supply, or we can use your own bone which we can obtain from different areas in your mouth or other donor sites.
Another reason why you may need bone grafting is if the sinus cavities in your upper jaw are very large or very low and extend into the tooth-bearing areas. This often occurs when teeth in the back of a personal€™s upper jaw have been removed many years ago and the amount of bone available for implant placement is decreased. This condition requires what we call a "sinus grafting procedure." Most often we will perform this procedure in our office with local anesthesia and sedation if you desire.
During this procedure we will locate and elevate the membrane that lines the sinus and will add bone to restore the bone height to ensure that dental implants of an adequate length can be placed at the same time or in the future.