When a tooth is lost, the bone that surrounded it is reabsorbed in a process known as osseo-reabsorption or atrophy, in which the bone becomes progressively thinner making the installation of an implant nearly impossible. There are cases in which teeth were lost many years earlier and required the intervention of a procedure known as bone grafting.
Bone grafts can be done with artificial materials but the graft that presents the best results utilizes the patient’s own bone material, obtained from another part of the mouth. This can be done in block or with fragmented bone matter to lift the membrane of the maxillary sinus (maxillary sinus lift). When there is extensive bone loss a graft can be obtained from the hip area, which requires hospitalization. Although more invasive, this technique may be the solution of choice for people who lost their teeth many years earlier and have not adapted well to using dentures.