Bone Grafting for Implants

Do I Have Enough Bone?

Dental implants need to be surrounded by good healthy bone. If a tooth needs extraction and an immediate implant is not feasible Drs. Blecha and Jandali will typically suggest placement of a socket preservation bone graft in order to try to optimize the quality and quantity of bone in the future implant site. The socket preservation graft does not guarantee enough bone for an implant, but often it does achieve this. Some socket preservation grafts do not heal well due to compromised bone quality or quantity. Further bone grafting could be needed. See bone grafting section for further details.

An example of a jaw with inadequate front bone structure to support an implant
1. Inadequate Bone
A depiction of the placed bone grafting material to increase the bone structure
2. Graft Material Placed
A representation of dental implants placed after bone grafting
3. Implants Placed

If there is inadequate bone for an implant a bone graft will be needed. Bone grafting is usually a relatively comfortable office procedure. In some cases the bone graft and implant can be done at the same time. In other cases we may need to do the bone graft first, let it heal for 5 months, and then come back later to place the implant. Drs. Blecha and Jandali tries to avoid complicated bone grafting whenever possible.

Please see the separate bone grafting section for further details

A jaw lacking enough bone in the back of the mouth for a dental implant
1. Inadequate Bone
An example of a dental implant after adding jaw structure with bone grafting
2. Graft Material and Implant Placed

You may also need bone grafting if the sinus cavities in your upper jaw are very 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, or if the sinus is low or  if the bone below the sinus was lost due to dental disease.  In these situations,  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 and perhaps sedation. 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 often can be performed at the time of implant placement, or the bone graft may have to be performed and heal prior to any implant placement.