One common type of bone replacement graft is called a Sinus Lift Bone Replacement Procedure. It was invented in the 1970's by Dr. Hilt Tatum. In fact, I have had the great honor and privilege to be trained by Dr. Tatum himself! I have spent time in his home in France.
Procedure 1. “Lateral Window or Traditional Approach”
This common procedure and relatively painless procedure is only used to replace upper back teeth. The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
There is a solution and it’s called a sinus bone graft or sinus lift. In this common procedure we enter the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and about a teaspoon of bone is inserted into the sinus. In many cases, the implants are placed at the same time. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and teeth can be placed on the implants.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can often be performed as a single procedure. If the bone is very thin, the sinus bone graft will have to be performed first, and then the graft will have to mature for a few months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
Procedure 2. Internal Sinus Lift Procedure
This procedure is used when the bone loss of the upper back tooth area is minimal. In this minimally invasive procedure, the sinus bone is actually moved up through the implant site at the same time the implant is placed.
It is also possible to lift the sinus bone at the time of extraction of an upper molar in anticipation of a future implant. Bone replacement materials, if even necessary can be added through the tiny implant socket. Consult me before you have an upper molar extracted as we can probably save you time and money.