Dental implants are a widely used method of replacing lost or extracted natural teeth with securely implanted, artificial prostheses. There is one main drawback, however: Patients must have sufficient bone mass to anchor the implants into the jawbone. If you’ve been told that you don’t meet the criteria, you may still be able to get dental implants, provided you have a sinus lift surgery first. Talk to a tooth implant specialist in San Diego about what you can expect from the procedure.
Reasons for Sinus Lift Surgery
Sinus lift surgery is appropriate for patients who need to have dental implants placed in their upper jaw, but need more bone grafted to the area first. It’s also done when the sinuses aren’t sufficiently far away from the jaw. This is generally more problematic for older adults, as the sinuses can become larger with age. Sinus lift surgery can correct upper jaw bone loss caused by:
- Periodontal disease
- Lengthy absence of natural teeth from the jaw
When the natural teeth aren’t replaced in a timely manner, the underlying bone mass lacks the physical stimulation necessary to maintain the process of replacing old bone with new bone. The longer the wait is between losing one’s teeth and getting dental implants, the more likely it is that the patient will need a sinus lift graft first.
Candidates for Orofacial Surgery
An oral surgeon will determine if you might benefit from sinus lift surgery, and whether you’re a good candidate for it. For any oral surgery, it’s essential that the patient be a non-smoker. This is because smoking:
- Delays wound healing
- Increases the risk of infections
- Increases the risk of acute and chronic sinus infections
Additionally, when the patient has implants placed, smoking increases the risk of their failure. Along with being a non-smoker, good candidates for this surgery should also be committed to carefully following the surgeon’s discharge instructions.
Steps in the Procedure
During the surgery, the doctor will make an incision in the gum tissue, and an opening in the underlying bone. The surgeon then gently repositions the membrane that lines the sinus cavity and separates the cavity from the jaw. The space that the membrane formerly occupied is then filled with bone graft material. The surgical site is closed, and the patient can return home after a brief period of monitoring.