The bone of our upper and lower jaws exists to hold the roots of our teeth. If a tooth is removed, or if we are born without a particular tooth, the jawbone has no stimulus or reason to exist in that area and it slowly begins to atrophy, or “melt away”. Dental implants require an adequate amount of bone in order to successfully integrate into the jaws. Therefore, “implants are all about bone”. If significant atrophy of the jawbone has occurred, you might be ineligible for dental implants.
Fortunately, there are techniques that we can use to replace missing bone. These techniques are called bone and/or soft tissue grafts, and/or sinus lifts. These types of grafting procedures can sometimes be done in conjunction with implant placement, or on occasion, the grafting (build up of bone) needs to precede implant placement.
Dr. Schwartz will carefully assess the amount of available bone for implant placement. There are different radiographs that we can order depending on the area and degree of bone loss. Sometimes all that is needed is a panorex that we can take in our office. Other times it is necessary to take a more sophisticated x-ray called a CT scan. The surgery can then be planned and performed on the computer prior to being done on the patient.
If bone grafting is required in conjunction with your implant surgery, or needed prior to implant placement Dr. Schwartz will make the appropriate recommendation and cover the procedure in detail with you at the time of your initial visit.