In most circumstances, Dr. David M. Fisher is happy to offer dental implants to those who are missing any number of teeth. But can patients who have already suffered from bone loss in their jaws still benefit from this procedure? The answer is they often can, thanks to some advanced dental implant procedures in Greensboro. If there are any gaps in your smile you’d like to fill with an implant, contact Dr. Fisher’s practice today to schedule a consultation; he’ll tell you what you need to do to prepare for the procedure.
The jawbone relies on the pressure and chewing stimulation provided by your teeth to remain strong. Once you’ve suffered tooth loss, the unused portion of the bone will start to break down, much like how an unused muscle will atrophy. This is a problem when getting dental implants because there needs to be enough bone to support the posts.
That is where bone grafting comes in. During the procedure, replacement bone tissue is transplanted to your jaw, which in turn encourages your body to start creating new bone tissue. This effectively reverses the damage caused by bone loss. The replacement tissue often comes from elsewhere in your body (likely the hip or the back of the jaw), though it may also be provided by a human or animal donor.
The bone grafting surgery can take about 45 to 90 minutes. Your mouth will need time to heal after bone grafting before the dental implant surgery can be performed. This process can take anywhere from 3 months to a year, depending on the patient and the extent of the damage. There are situations where only a small amount of grafting is required, and you might be able to receive dental implants on the same day in those cases.
Sinus lifts are only used for the upper jaw. Like bone grafting, it can be used to replace bone height that was lost due to missing teeth. It may also be necessary to move your sinuses if they’re too close to the jaw for dental implants to be placed. (The shape and size of the sinus is different for everybody, and it tends to get larger as you age; that is why it may or may not be an issue for certain patients.) This procedure has become more common in recent years, in part thanks to the growing popularity of dental implants.
During the procedure, a small incision is made where the teeth used to be. A window is then made in the bone, exposing the membrane between the sinus and the jaw. The membrane is pushed up and away, and grafting material is placed in the empty space. It normally takes about 4 to 9 months for the grafted material to fully mesh with the bone. Dental implant surgery can proceed after recovery is complete and the proper level of bone density has been restored.