Bone loss in the jaws occurs when teeth or lost or extracted, or when a person suffers from severe gum disease. In the first year after a tooth is lost and left un-replaced, 25% of the bone surrounding the missing tooth is reabsorbed into the body. This bone loss continues and can be made worse by gum disease or wearing dentures.
Bone grafting and sinus lifts for dental implants
For certain procedures such as dental implants and dental implant bridges, it may be necessary to augment the jawbone through bone grafting or sinus lifts, a technique to add bone to an expanded sinus cavity. This technique prepares a site in the jaw for implants by ensuring there is sufficient bone volume, which permits the dental implants to become fully integrated into the jawbone.
A bone graft is bone tissue that is placed on a bone that needs augmentation (an increase in volume). The bone graft is added to the existing bone and it also stimulates the jawbone to grow more bone on its own.
An effective bone grafting technique is guided bone regeneration (GBR). This is the use of membranes to serve as barriers that allow new bone to be generated without interference from the cells of other tissues in the mouth. Titanium-reinforced membranes may be used to help hold the shape of the bone while the bone graft material and jawbone work to grow new bone.
A sinus lift is done when there isn’t enough bone volume in the upper jaw to accommodate and support a dental implant or when the sinus is too close to the jaw for implants to be placed.
A sinus lift is performed by gently lifting the membrane separating the sinus from the jaw. Bone graft material is then packed into the space left behind by the sinus. Usually several millimeters of bone is added. Once the new bone has fully integrated with your jawbone, the implant can be placed.
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