Bone Grafting & Sinus Lifts

Have you and your dentist talked about dental implants and whether or not they would be the right choice for replacing your missing teeth? Maybe you've discussed the pros and cons, and you're warming up to the idea, but now your dentist is telling you that there may not be enough bone in your jaw to support an implant.

At this point, you need the assistance of a trained oral surgeon like Dr. Suzin Um. She will explain how bone grafting can augment the bone in your jaw for successful placement of your implant and the best long-term outcome.

Why Don't I Have Enough Bone?

Your tooth root and jaw bone have a symbiotic relationship where the presence of one stimulates the bone to maintain its shape. Just like a muscle that needs exercise to keep its bulk, bone also needs the stimulation of the use of the tooth to maintain its bulk. When a tooth is lost, the bone in your jaw starts to deteriorate and resorb (shrink) back into your body.

Why Is Bone Density Important for Implants?

The bone in your jaw acts as a foundation for the dental implant post. After the implant is placed in your jaw and left to heal, its biocompatible nature allows it to bond securely with surrounding bone and tissue.

But if there isn't sufficient bone, we cannot place the implant, and Dr. Um will recommend bone grafting surgery.

What is Bone Grafting?

If you don't have enough bone for a dental implant, Dr. Um uses bone from another part of your body or utilizes tissue engineering and stem cell technology to create a dense bone mass that successfully supports your implant.

Stem cells are unique because they regenerate and produce specialized types of cells to restore and heal injured skin, bones, cartilage, muscles, nerves, and other tissues.

What Types of Bone Grafts Do You Recommend?

There are two types of different bone - autologous (your own bone) and allograft, or "bone in a bottle." We harvest autologous bone from various areas including the upper jaw, back of the jaw (ramus), or your hip.

We harvest bone in a bottle from human cadavers and cows (bovine). After being treated with chemicals, they leave a clean structure that creates a scaffold for healthy bone growth. The type of bone graft Dr. Um chooses depends on the size of the defect and its location.

For more significant defects and optimal bone formation, Dr. Um may utilize tissue engineering. 

What Is a Sinus Lift?

An essential part of the implant planning process is evaluating the structures that surround the implant site. Using state-of-the-art 3-D digital imaging, Dr. Um will check the location of your sinuses, roots of adjacent teeth, blood vessels, and nerves to identify any potential problems. Evaluating these structures with digital radiographic technology ensures that the dental implant will not interfere with them. 

During the examination, Dr. Um may find that the membrane of the sinus is touching or draping over the implant site. In this case, Dr. Um will recommend a procedure called a sinus lift. This is similar to bone grafting because its purpose is to augment the bone between your jaw and sinus.

Trust a Skilled Oral Surgeon

Dental implants can have a tremendous positive impact on your quality of life. Our goal at Lake Forest Oral Surgery is to create the most stable foundation for your implant, and bone grafting and sinus lifts enable us to do that.

Please don't be discouraged if you have been told you can't get an implant because of insufficient bone. Call Dr. Suzin Um at our Foothill Ranch oral surgery office to learn how we can help.