In certain situations, the bone of the upper jaw can shrink and become significantly smaller to the point that it can sometimes disappear. This phenomenon is called bone loss and is clinically referred to as “maxillary atrophy”. When this happens, the bone separating the sinus area from the mouth is very thin, only a few millimeters thick. This bone loss has the potential to prevent dental implant placement. Bone loss in the upper jaw can occur due to many reasons including dental infection, gum disease, and systemic diseases of the body. Only a thorough diagnostic by a trained team of experts can identify the causes of such bone loss. Additionally, implant loss or infection can lead to bone loss. As a result, the little bone left excludes the placement of additional or replacement dental implants. Maxillary atrophy may originate from systemic disorders too.

Maxillary atrophy has significant consequences on the quality of life for the patients. Due to the severe bone loss in the upper jaw, dentures often fit poorly and require adhesives to remain secure. Biting an apple, eating a sandwich, or simply smiling often becomes difficult, if not impossible, when patients with severe bone loss wear dentures. To make matters worse, the longer a patient wears a denture, the more bone they continue to lose in the jaw. This makes the denture fit even worse and the cycle continues to spiral out of control.