Bone Loss in Upper Jaw and Same-Day Dental Implants
For patients with severe bone loss in their upper jaw, several specialized options are available, which we will discuss in this article.
Bone Loss in Upper Jaw and Same-Day Dental Implants
post autor
post date
May 2024
post autor
post date
May 2024

Bone Loss in Upper Jaw and Same-Day Dental Implants

Many patients living with severe bone loss in their upper jaw have been told that their reduced bone density makes them ineligible for traditional All-On-4 full-mouth dental implants. One of the primary benefits of All-On-4 implants is receiving a full set of fixed teeth on the same day of surgery, hence the term, "teeth-in-a-day," or "same-day dental implants."

Most of the advertisements you see for dental implants are for the customary same-day procedure performed on patients with sufficient bone strength and volume. On surgery day, the dentist will place the four implants and then attach a temporary fixed bridge so you never go without a full set of teeth. These procedures typically have a high success rate, yet implant failure can arise when inexperienced dentists attempt surgery on patients suffering from bone loss, especially in the upper jaw. A respectable dentist will refer a patient with bone loss to an experienced specialist who can utilize highly specialized techniques to administer full arch restoration and teeth-in-a-day implants, even with severe bone loss.

If you have reduced upper jawbone strength and are planning on getting same-day full-mouth dental implants, make sure you get a second opinion from an experienced specialist. Many patients mistakenly believe that the loss of their upper jawbone means that dentures are their only option, aside from lengthy bone grafting or sinus lift procedures, which will delay their implants for many months.

In this article, we will walk you through the traditional treatments for upper jawbone loss as well as the highly specialized options that will allow you to enjoy same-day implants even if you have been told otherwise by another provider.

Why Bone Loss Matters When Considering Dental Implants

Bone loss is one of the most important factors when evaluating a patient for dental implants. Without a strong jawbone, the implant screws will not fully support the weight and pressure of the newly attached set of teeth. Differences in the anatomy of the lower and upper jawbone should also be considered.

Compared to the lower jaw (the mandible), the upper jaw (the maxilla) is thinner, weaker, and lower in bone volume. Additionally, many more delicate structures, such as the sinus cavities, surround the upper jaw. These factors make upper jaw surgeries significantly more complicated, thus requiring the expertise of an experienced specialist.

Long-Term Bone Augmentation Procedures for Patients with Upper Jawbone Loss

For patients with severe bone loss in the upper jaw, some procedures require a longer healing period before they can receive dental implants and temporary fixed full-arch teeth. These methods focus on rebuilding the bone structure to create a stable foundation for future implants, therefore disqualifying these patients from receiving a full arch of new teeth on the same day as the surgery.  In the next section, we will educate you on highly specialized procedures that allow you to leave the office on surgery day with a full set of teeth, even with severe bone loss.

  • Bone Grafting: Bone grafting involves adding bone material to the jawbone to enhance its strength and volume. The graft material can originate from the patient’s own body (autografts), donor bone (allografts), animal bone (xenografts), or synthetic substitutes (alloplasts). Once the graft material is placed, it requires several months to integrate with the existing bone, depending on the extent of the graft and the individual's healing capacity. After the bone has healed and integrated into a stronger and more stable foundation, it will be ready for implant placement. In some cases, several bone grafting sessions will be required, thus delaying implants and new teeth for 18 – 24 months.
  • Sinus Lift (Sinus Augmentation): A sinus lift or sinus augmentation is a surgical procedure designed to increase the bone volume in the upper jaw, especially around the molars and premolars, by lifting the sinus membrane and placing a bone graft underneath. During the procedure, the sinus membrane is carefully lifted to make space for the bone graft material. Over several months, the graft integrates with the natural bone, increasing the height of the upper jaw. Once healing is complete, the increased bone volume provides a solid foundation for the successful placement of dental implants.
  • Ridge Expansion: Ridge expansion, also known as ridge splitting, is a technique used when the jawbone is too narrow to support dental implants. This procedure involves creating a small crack along the top ridge of the jawbone and inserting bone graft material into the space to widen the ridge. The ridge is carefully split to make room for bone graft material to gradually increase the bone width. The healing process, which typically takes several months, allows the bone to heal and integrate. Once healed and expanded, the bone provides a suitable width for the placement of dental implants.

These long-term bone augmentation procedures are effective for patients for severe bone loss in the upper jaw as they provide a stable foundation for future dental implants, ensuring long-term treatment success. However, due to the extended healing and integration periods required, patients undergoing these procedures will be disqualified from receiving same-day implants or teeth-in-a-day solutions.

Highly Specialized Same-Day Full Arch Options for Patients with Upper Jawbone Loss

Despite what you might have been told or heard, there are several highly specialized techniques that will allow patients with severe upper jawbone loss to leave the office on surgery day with a full set of new teeth.  Very few dentists are experienced enough to perform these procedures, but our specialists at the Florida Dental Implant Institute are experts in helping patients with severe bone loss and who want same-day implants.

  • Zygomatic Implants: For patients wanting immediate placement of implants but suffering from severe upper jawbone loss, zygomatic implants can be a great solution. Zygomatic implants are the alternative treatment most frequently recommended to patients with significant upper jawbone loss. These implants are secured using the zygomatic or “cheek” bone instead of the jaw, circumventing the need for bone grafts. Just like conventional implants, zygomatic implants offer natural, permanent replacements that ensure the patient will be able to avoid dentures and the long-term side effects of living with tooth loss. They are particularly suited for "teeth-in-a-day" procedures as they provide immediate support for a fixed bridge, allowing for the rapid placement of dental implants.
  • Pterygoid Implants: Pterygoid implants are anchored in the pterygoid bone at the back of the upper jaw, offering an alternative for patients with insufficient upper jawbone mass. These implants can be placed in one day, allowing for the immediate loading of a temporary fixed bridge, making them a suitable option for patients needing rapid dental restoration. Pterygoid implants are named for the pterygoid bone, which is located in the back of the mouth. This bone provides an opportunity to securely anchor restorative implants in cases where the jawbone and cheekbone are too weak. Limited bone density, especially due to congenital conditions like osteoporosis, can make pterygoid implants necessary for patients who have been declared ineligible for traditional implants.
  • Trans-Sinus Implants: Trans-sinus implants utilize the maxillary sinus bone for anchoring, making them beneficial for patients with low bone volume in the upper jaw. This method allows for the immediate placement of a temporary fixed bridge, providing a rapid solution for dental restoration. They offer an alternative to zygomatic implants when the anterior sinus wall anatomy indicates the need for one. Your provider will examine these structures, looking for atrophy as well as concave sinus anatomy to determine whether trans-sinus implants would be a better fit.
  • Trans-Nasal Implants: Trans-nasal implants are placed through the nasal cavity to provide a stable foundation for dental implants. This method enables same-day implant placement and allows for the immediate loading of a temporary bridge, offering a rapid solution for dental restoration. As with trans-sinus and zygomatic implants, trans-nasal implants help patients who are ineligible for conventional implant treatments by bypassing the need for bone grafts.

Though commonly associated with aging, jawbone deterioration and its resulting physical changes are not always a natural part of the aging process. The best way to prevent and treat jawbone deterioration due to tooth loss or denture use is to replace the natural tooth roots with dental implants as soon as possible. Many patients who already suffer from severe bone loss cannot receive implants under normal circumstances since their jaw has become too weak to support them.

These four innovative techniques offer hope for patients with significant bone loss, allowing them to achieve a functional and aesthetically pleasing smile in just one day. For more information and to explore your options, consult with a specialist at the Florida Dental Implant Institute.

Which Treatment Option Should You Choose When Seeking Dental Implants with Upper Jawbone Loss?

If you have severe upper jawbone loss and want to enjoy the benefit of same-day dental implants, then you will most likely need to see a specialist who is experienced in zygomatic implants, pterygoid implants, trans-sinus implants, or trans-nasal implants. These highly specialized treatments allow for the same-day placement of implants and a full set of fixed new teeth, even in the presence of severe bone loss. If you prefer to rebuild your jawbone slowly over several months before getting implants, techniques such as bone grafts, sinus lifts, or ridge expansion procedures might work well for you. However, keep in mind that many dentists who are not qualified in specialized techniques might recommend bone grafting instead of referring you to a specialist who can help. This is why we always recommend getting a dental implant second opinion to ensure you know your options and schedule the optimal surgical treatment for your situation.

Visit an Experienced Board-Certified Specialist to Explore Your Treatment Options for Upper Arch Implants

If you are considering dental implants, we invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with our dedicated implant team at the Florida Dental Implant Institute. During the consultation, you will gain insights into your unique treatment needs and projected costs from an expert specialty team member with years of experience treating complex cases involving tooth loss and severe bone degradation.

The Florida Dental Implant Institute consists of highly skilled specialists and staff members who work together to ensure you are treated with respect and served with the most advanced treatment techniques available. Serving all of South Florida, including Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral, and Marco Island, we are the only office in the area exclusively focused on complex cases and dental implants.