In certain cases where the natural teeth have been missing for a long time, the natural bone may have shrunk to the point that implants cannot be placed in the normal way.
In order to place the implants, a sinus lift or bone graft would be necessary. Here bone is added to the area where the implants are to be placed, thickening the bone to provide sufficient bone support for the implants once placed.
In the upper jaw this procedure is called a 'sinus lift' or 'sinus graft', and in the lower jaw, a 'bone graft'.
As the placement of dental implants has become more popular, this procedure has become very commonplace. It is done by gently lifting the membrane that lines the inside of your sinus away from the sinus floor, and placing bone into this space, which thickens the upper jaw.
The graft is then left for about six months to develop its own blood supply and turn into natural bone. After this healing period, the dental implants can be placed, provided there are no complications.
The bone used could be your own natural bone, or donor bone from the bone bank. Your surgeon will discuss these options with you during your consultation.