I Have Inadequate Bone Quantity, Can I Still Get Dental Implants?

Dental implants are posts or frames that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gums. These allow replacement teeth to be mounted. The problem is that they need to be attached to the jaw securely, so they don’t fall out or damage the jaw. So, what happens if the jaw is worn away or just doesn’t have enough bone for dental implants? People who come into my Manhattan practice may have this question.

The answer is yes. In many cases, patients can still receive dental implants even if they have insufficient bone quantity. In the last 30 years, surgical procedures have been developed to increase local bone volume thus allowing implants to be placed in the posterior maxilla in patients with initially insufficient bone height.  Sinus floor elevation (sinus lift) has been advocated to allow implant placement even when the posterior maxilla has undergone severe bone loss. Sinus lifts refer to a procedure in which bone is added to the upper jaw to augment the bone, and the sinus membrane is moved upward or “lifted.”

The most common sinus lift techniques are the 1 or 2 stage lateral approach and the crestal approach using the osteotome technique. The surgical technique chosen may depend on the residual bone height, the implant length, and the amount of bone grafting required.  Various types of grafting materials have been successful for sinus augmentation.  Modern surgical techniques and the patient’s wishes of achieving optimal rehabilitation have led clinicians to consider sinus lift augmentation even for single implant-supported restorations.

This year, more extensive research was published on the topic of single implants supported restorations in maxillary bone augmented using either the osteotome or lateral window techniques.  The overall success ranges were greater than 98%.  The study also found that the incidence of intraoperative complications (i.e., perforation of the sinus membrane) during the lateral window technique was significantly higher than that generally reported for sinus augmentation procedures in edentulous maxillary regions.  This may have been due to the restriction of the access area.  The access was of necessity small; adjacent root apices preclude the possibility of mesial or distal extension.

I have found, at my Manhattan practice, the surgical microscope greatly reduces the complication of many surgical implant related procedures and certainly facilitates single implant sinus lift procedures.  Greater magnification and a xenon light source transform a small surgical access into one that appears very large, clear and manageable. These techniques have made the entire process of dental implants better and more manageable. Below are two such cases.

Patients in the Manhattan area have been well-served so far at my practice due to the professional experience and new microsurgical techniques. Dental implants are a common procedure to fix dental loss, and they don’t need to be a problematic procedure for the professional or the patient. Patients are advised to realize that no matter what dental issues you may have, we can fix it.

Come in or call (212) 702-9088 for a consultation, and we can discuss what we can do to help you.