If you have lost teeth in the back of your mouth (whether from tooth loss from an extensive cavity, trauma, or periodontal disease), you should consider replacing them to keep your bite functioning properly and to preserve proper facial structure. It is because losing the molars in the upper jaw can cause tooth loss and an expansion of the sinuses. However, it is often hard to place dental implants in the upper jaw because of the proximity of your jawbone to your sinus cavity.
How Can We Ensure Dental Implant Success?
To have success with a dental implant, you first need to have good bone material and enough of it in the jawbone. For the upper back jaw, it can sometimes be challenging to install dental implants because of a lack of good bone material. Also called a sinus graft or sinus augmentation, this surgery boosts the amount of bone in your upper jaw so that you can have a dental implant to replace a missing tooth or teeth, typically the molars or premolars. Without enough available bone material in the jaw, it can’t support a dental implant properly.
When losing a tooth, the bone material surrounding it can deteriorate in time by shrinking and resorbing, diminishing the density. As that happens, the bottom part of the sinuses drops lower. With a sinus lift, you are given bone material to support the implant with sufficient mass in the upper jaw as the sinuses expand to take up the empty spot where the jawbone material previously sat. This bone boost will give you the solid foundation your jaw needs to hold the dental implant post in place, so it doesn’t go through to the sinus cavity.
Having a sinus lift before dental implantation does extend the treatment time, but it will help make sure that your implants will do their job properly. The good news is a sinus lift is easily done in our facility rather than in a hospital setting. Once the implants fuse with the jawbone, we can successfully place dental implants to replace lost teeth.
What Is a Sinus Lift?
When our periodontist performs a sinus lift, a grafted bone (from your body or a donor source) will be inserted in between the jawbone and sinus membrane. Once fused, it will give your upper jaw the healthy bone material it needs to support dental implants effectively. You might need a sinus lift if you have experienced the following:
- Periodontal disease
- A tooth extraction that failed
- Jawbone injury
- A long time of tooth loss
- Have big sinus cavities or thin sinus walls
Are You a Good Candidate?
It can take up to nine months to heal completely from having a sinus lift done, which means your dental implant restoration will take longer to complete. To determine if you are a good candidate for a sinus lift, our periodontist will need to examine your jawbone, teeth, and facial structure. Then a treatment plan can be created that is ideal for your needs and which of the two types of sinus lift procedures is best.
Your sinus lift will begin with a local anesthetic, after which our periodontist can make a small opening in the bone to get to the sinus cavity where the sinuses can be lifted to where they were originally positioned. Then the grafting material can be put under the sinus cavity that sits along the bone to mesh and give you the bone density you need. Healing takes anywhere from four to nine months after which your dental implants can be installed, lasting for years to come.
If you have lost teeth and want to replace them with dental implants, we welcome you to call our team to learn more or to schedule a consultation with our periodontist. Your healthy smile and quality of life are worth protecting!