Your jaw maintains its size and strength through the stimulation it receives from the roots of your natural teeth. When your teeth are gone, the body will think that the underlying bone isn’t needed anymore and allow it to break down. Since dental implants need to fuse with the bone, a degenerated jaw could lower your chances of a successful procedure. However, Dr. De Vincenzo can reverse bone loss through a procedure called bone grafting.
Bone grafts take a section of bone from another part of your body, such as the hips or a denser part of the jaw, and places it at the site where the bone loss has taken place. (Sometimes the bone can be taken from a donor or an animal, or synthetic material might be used instead.) Once the new tissue is in place, it will encourage the jaw to start producing new bone tissue to rebuild itself. Under normal circumstances, you’ll need to wait several months before there’s enough density for implants. Of course, in some situations the implant surgery can be performed immediately after a minor graft, although Dr. De Vincenzo will need to decide whether this is a viable option.
A sinus lift is like bone grafting in that it adds height to the upper jaw, but it can also be used to address other issues. Some patients will have a sinus cavity that’s too close to the area where implants need to be inserted. To solve this issue, Dr. De Vicenzo can make an incision in your gums and create a hole in the bone so that he can gently push the sinus upwards. He can then pack bone graft material into the empty space before re-closing the gums. Depending on the case, you’ll normally have to wait about 4 to 9 months before the grafting material fully meshes with the bone, at which point you’ll be ready to receive your dental implants.