Where a tooth (or teeth) have been missing for a long time or may have been affected by gum disease there may not be sufficient bone to place dental implants. This can also be the result of natural anatomical features, often the air sinus which is within the upper jaw bone.
In order to place dental implants in these situations we need to augment or graft the bone in these areas. Bone grafting can be carried out using your own bone (usually taken from within the mouth) or natural bone substitute. The obvious advantage of natural bone substitute is that it removes the need for a second surgical site. This material is prepared from a very carefully controlled source and is processed to remove all organic material. This material is most commonly used for sinus grafts (a procedure where we insert more material into the sinus by lifting the membrane).
Grafts typically take 6 months to mature before we can place implants. Occasionally in the sinus region we elect to place implants at the same time as the graft procedure which cuts down on the number of surgical procedures required.