Sinus and Ridge Modification
The goal may be a bright smile, but a dental implant begins with the jawbone. It can end there, too. Placing an implant depends not just on having enough jawbone but on having enough quality jawbone. The upper back section of the jaw is notoriously difficult for placing implants because there’s so little bone to work with and it sits in close proximity to the sinus. The procedure becomes even more challenging, and sometimes even impossible, when periodontal disease has led to the deterioration of the jawbone.
A sinus lift, a procedure that covers several techniques, can remedy the situation by raising the sinus floor—the sinus gradually enlarges with age–creating more space to place a bone graft and form a new foundation for the implants.
Deformities in the jaw can also be to blame for a shortage of bone—and, in turn, a lack of suitable surface area to install the implant devices. Ridge augmentation entails lifting the gum away from the ridge to expose the deformity and then filling it with bone or a graft material. After four to six months, the jawbone’s ready for implants. In some cases, the implant can even be placed during the augmentation.
With the removal of a tooth, the jawbone can shrink very quickly at first. It’ll never actually stop shrinking, but the pace will eventually slow. It’s natural, but it’s nonetheless problematic when placing an implant. Ridge preservation minimizes that initial shrinking by filling the socket with a bone graft right after the tooth is removed. And once the implant’s placed, the shrinking will stop altogether.