Bone Grafting for Implants

Do I Have Enough Bone?

After tooth extraction, if the walls of your socket are thin (such as in your upper and lower front teeth), adequate healing and bone regeneration will not always occur. In this situation, a bone graft is 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.

Inadequate Bone for dental implant
1. Inadequate Bone
Bone Graft Material Placed
2. Graft Material Placed
After Dental Implants Placed
3. Implants Placed

There may be inadequate bone for implant placement if your tooth was removed years ago and your bony ridge is thin. In this case, a bone graft can be placed next to the thin bone and allowed to heal for at least three 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.

Inadequate Bone for dental implant
1. Inadequate Bone
Bone Graft Material and Dental Implant Placed
2. Graft Material and Implant Placed

You may also need bone grafting if the sinus cavities in your upper jaw are large or 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. 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 can often be performed at the time of implant placement.