Some patients do not have enough bone where we want to place implants. This can happen for many reasons, but is often a result of years of missing teeth and the bone shrinking away, a natural process called atrophy. A common situation is the expansion of the sinuses above the upper jaw leaving the back halves of the jaw hollow and unable to support implants without help. And different disease processes, such as gum disease, or an abscess requiring removal of a tooth or teeth, can leave behind damaged bone that cannot support a dental implant.
Whatever the cause, bone grafting may be an option to restore lost bone volume and create a healthy and stable area in which to place implants. With new synthetic bone materials, we can most often repair damaged or lost bone and later return to place an implant or implants. Depending upon the severity of the bone loss and the amount of bone needed to stabilize an implant or implants, anywhere from 2 to 4 to 6 months may be necessary for the new bone to fully mature.
If this process would help you prior to considering dental implants, Dr. Fisher and Dr. Zitterich can give you a good estimate of the time required for your specific situation.
Please see examples of Bone Grafting cases with our actual patients in our Photo Gallery.