In orofacial areas, bone can be grafted in areas where inadequate bone is present for esthetics, health, or function. Many types of bone are available for use today. Xenografts contain bone minerals from animals (Bio-oss or Nu-oss are examples); Allografts are bone from human donors and can be mineralized or non-mineralized, frozen or freeze dried, and some c
an be modeled like putty to be placed into bone defects; and autografts are bone grafts from other areas of your mouth.
All of these graft materials have specific indications and situations where they are optimally used. Xenograft and allografts have been carefully tested and have an outstanding record of safety and effectiveness. All allografts used in our office come from bone banks accredited by the American Association of tissue banks. Bone grafting for esthetics can make the teeth and gums appear natural and symmetrical giving a youthful and healthy appearance. Bone grafting for health allows guided bone regeneration around the teeth that have lost bone through trauma or disease. Bone grafting for function adds bone to areas of the jaw or sinus to prepare them for implant placement. This can also include adding bone to tooth sockets to reduce the jawbone resorption that occurs when teeth are extracted.
Membranes are generally placed over bone grafts to hold the graft in place and to exclude other types of tissue from growing in the area. A bone graft matures after about 6 months.
Sinus Lift Procedure
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
There is a solution called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The dental implant surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.