Why Do We Need Additional Surgeries Before Dental Implants?

The biggest challenge in placing dental implants is finding enough bone to support the implants.

Placing dental implants is not always as straightforward as one would like. The biggest challenge with placing dental implants is finding sufficient bone to support the implants. If there isn’t enough bone to support your dental implants, then adjunct bone augmentation surgeries are required to restore your bone prior to placing implants. The exact treatment required depends on where the implants are being placed and how much existing bone you have within that region. Here are some examples of common surgeries performed in conjunction with dental implant placement:

Bone Graft

Bone graft is the most common treatment used in conjunction with dental implant placement. Function of bone graft is to help fill in voids to allow your own bone to properly grow and lock the dental implants in place. Often times, bone graft is placed when extracting bad teeth in order to preserve the socket for future dental implant placement. Bone graft is obtained from various sources, such as cadavers (allograft), pig (xenograft) or even from your own body (autograft).

Block Bone Graft

Block bone graft, typically abbreviated block graft, is a more complex grafting procedure used to replace large segments of missing bone. A block graft is indicated for restoring large defects where a simple bone graft is incapable of restoring the missing bone. Block grafts are more complicated and often times require the use of fixation screws, membranes or even a metal mesh to help secure and restore your bone. Similar to regular bone grafts, block grafts can be obtained from donor sites as well as from your own body. Often times, block grafts are used in conjunction with a blood draw known as Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF) to help improve soft tissue regeneration and bone integration.

Sinus Lift

sinus lift is typically indicated for placing dental implants in the upper jaw towards the back. For those who are tooth savvy, this includes teeth #2, 3, 4, 13, 14 and 15 and occasionally teeth #5 and 12. Sinus lift is required whenever there is very little bone under the sinuses, typically 5 to 8 mm of remaining bone. By elevating the sinuses, your dentist can place a large enough dental implant that will heal properly over time.

Lateral Wall Sinus Graft

lateral wall sinus graft is similar to a sinus lift but reserved for the most extreme cases where there is hardly any bone left underneath the sinuses, typically less than 5 mm. Performing a lateral wall sinus graft requires manually pushing the entire sinus membrane up in order to add significant amount of bone underneath the sinus. Once healed, there will be enough room to place large enough dental implants to support your bite. Recovery from a lateral wall sinus graft takes a while and requires getting lots of rest and avoiding blowing your nose or anything else that places pressure on the sinuses for a few weeks.

How Much Does a Bone Graft or Sinus Lift Cost?

The cost of bone graft or sinus surgery primarily depends on the complexity of your treatment. A standard bone graft is the least expensive augmentation procedure, typically costing just a few hundred bucks. Next is a sinus lift which is a bit more costly, since not only does the sinus needs to be pushed up but some bone grafting is also needed to fill in the gaps. Finally, a block graft or lateral wall sinus graft is where it starts to get quite expensive since they are both very complex surgeries and require lots of preparation and raw material. Typically, a block graft or lateral wall sinus graft costs a few thousand dollars, which is in addition to the cost of your dental implants. If you are looking to learn more about bone grafts, sinus lifts or other bone augmentation treatments and you live in or around the San Clemente region, please give us a call to book your complimentary implant consultation today.

Brush ‘n Floss Yo Teeth!
Ali John Jazayeri, DDS

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