For those patients who have lost teeth due to injury, disease, or poor dental hygiene, dental implants are the closest thing available to permanent tooth replacement. A titanium post is implanted into the jawbone creating a “root,” given time to integrate into the jaw structure, and then topped with a permanent tooth or crown.
The implant procedure has become virtually routine—quick, relatively painless, and with a very high success rate. There are circumstances, however, when teeth have been missing long enough to result in a deterioration of the jawbone. The jaw which has been in constant use as a platform for the teeth can quickly atrophy to a state called basal bone without the constant pressure imposed on it by chewing. When that occurs, an implant patient may need to undergo a procedure called a bone augmentation which can replace the missing bone tissue essential for implants.
There are several types of dental bone grafts on Long Island which Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot can employ, depending on the implant type, location, and number of implants. Most bone augmentation procedures supplement the existing bone with bone grafts, the adding of bone tissue to the existing bone to allow dental implants to be placed. The added bone can come from a “transplant” of a small amount of bone from another area of the patient’s body (the most common procedure). The newly augmented area should be ready for implants in three to six months.
Some newer bone graft technology does not employ a bone graft at all, but supplements missing bone tissue by the introduction of a naturally occurring protein which stimulates certain cells to turn into bone.
When more tissue is needed in a larger bone loss than can be easily supplied with a minor addition of animal bone content, a procedure called a block bone graft may be employed in which a small (about 1cm) block of live bone tissue is harvested, usually from the chin area, and grafted where needed. The block is secured with titanium screws and is usually “implant ready” in four months once the graft has fused to the existing jawbone.
In any case where a bone graft is necessary, Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot will monitor the graft closely to ensure that enough healing and bone integration has taken place to allow for dental implants to be placed.
When implants are needed to replace maxillary (top) molars in the back (posterior) of the upper jaw, a procedure called a sinus lift may need to be employed to add the necessary bone tissue for an implant, so named because of the presence of the maxillary sinus. This is a small air space that actually warms, cools, and filters the air we breathe.
Dr. Nick or Dr. Elliot makes a small incision in the sinus above the roots of the upper teeth and creates a space where ground bone content is placed. In simple terms, the bone content is left to cure over a period of months until it is solid enough to accept an implant on which to place the molar.
The procedure is referred to as a sinus lift or sinus elevation because it increases the height of the upper jaw by adding extra bone content to accept an implant. In the hands of experienced Suffolk County cosmetic dentists like Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot, dental bone grafts like these are painless and enjoy an extremely high success rate.
We are available every day for a consultation to discuss your dental needs. The cost of dental bone grafts at our Suffolk County office will vary according to each case, and we’re committed to finding a flexible payment option for you to get this important dental work done.
Learn more about how bone grafts or sinus lifts will enable you to get the implants you’ve been waiting for. Call us today at 631-296-0602.
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