Sometimes, patients simply don’t have enough bone volume.

An implant works as an artificial (replacement) tooth root which is then attached to a prosthetic device. For implant treatment to be successful, you need enough bone in the area for the implant to hold. However, if you have missing or badly damaged teeth, your facial bones may have shrunk, and there may not be enough bone for implant treatment.

A bone graft procedure is a common way to add bone volume before your implant placement. After your initial assessment and x-rays, your dentist will recommend the best bone graft method for you.



Sinus Augmentation

When a patient has lost their rear upper molars, their tooth roots can no longer stimulate the bone which can cause bone atrophy (wasting). This atrophy causes the upper jaw to expand (sinus pneumatisation), leaving inadequate bone to support dental implants. A sinus lift – which is a bone graft in the upper jaw that pushes the sinus upwards – can remedy this problem.

A sinus lift is also known as a sinus augmentation, sinus graft or sinus elevation.

Understanding a sinus lift

A sinus lift involves bone grafting, but it differs as the new bone is deposited higher in the upper jaw. The extra bone sits internally, not outwards or downwards, as with a bone graft in the lower jaw. Consequently, a bone graft requires more post-operative care.

With a sinus lift, you won’t feel any dramatic changes in your mouth or gums. You may even be able to wear a denture afterwards without disturbing the healing process, which can take anywhere between three to 12 months, depending on the amount of sinus grafting required.

In some instances, the implant fixtures can be placed at the same time as the sinus grafting procedure. Implants placed in sites that have been grafted show similar success and survival rates as implants placed in native natural bone. At Aria Dental, our experienced team perform sinus graft procedures routinely. We often use piezosurgery which is less invasive than conventional surgical methods, with quicker recovery time.

After surgery, you may experience swelling and bruising around the cheeks and some discomfort which can be managed with appropriate analgesics.

After your sinus lift, you must avoid altering the internal pressure of the sinus cavity. This means avoiding:

  • smoking
  • sneezing
  • blowing your nose
  • flying

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Times have changed. For the better.

Bone grafting often has a negative connotation because it was previously associated with drilling bone from a donor site outside the mouth such as the hip bone. However, these days bone grafting procedures are very simple and are not associated with significant discomfort and swelling.

The grafting procedure

The dentist gains access to high-quality bone at the back of the mouth using a micro-incision. They then mix the natural bone with artificial bone materials and apply it to the implant site area. Adequate bone quantity is necessary for long term implant health.

Your recovery: what to expect

Usually, the recovery for bone grafting is no different from having an implant placed. There may be some slight increase in swelling which is to be expected and totally normal. Any discomfort and swelling that you may feel can be effectively managed with analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications.