If you’re planning to get dental implants, you’re probably eager to get your beautiful smile back right away. But for some candidates for dental implants, there’s another step that has to come first: sinus augmentation.
Who needs sinus augmentation?
A dental implant candidate who does not have sufficient bone mass in the upper jaw may need a sinus lift. There are many possible causes for bone loss: for one, many people who have lost their upper teeth sometimes suffer from insufficient bone mass in the jaw, since bone becomes reabsorbed into the body when teeth are missing. Sometimes gum disease can also spread and lead to bone loss in the jaw. For others, the sinuses may naturally be too large or too close to the upper jaw, as each person’s sinuses are different. Sinuses may get larger with age.
What is sinus augmentation?
Sinus augmentation (also known as sinus lift) raises the sinus floor and grafts bone into your upper jaw area near the molars. This ensures that there is enough bone mass in your upper jaw for implants to be placed securely. Once the sinuses are lifted out of the way, the bone is added between your jaw and the sinuses on either side of your nose.
How does sinus augmentation work?
Sinus augmentation can be performed by an oral surgeon, a maxillofacial surgeon, or a periodontist. The doctor will first diagnose the problem using an x-ray, and measure the existing bone in preparation for the surgery. During surgery, the doctor will open the gum tissue in the upper back jaw to expose the bone and cut a small window in the bone. Through this hole, the membrane that surrounds the sinus is pushed up from the jaw. Bone graft material is then added into the space where the sinus used to be. Once the bone graft is placed, the opening is stitched up and allowed to heal.
Before implants can be placed, the bone graft needs time to meld with the natural bone. This usually takes four to twelve months depending on the amount of bone grafted. Sinus augmentation has a very high success rate and most patients report little discomfort during and after the surgery. And most important, it can vastly increase your chances of successful dental implants that can last a lifetime!
Looking for someone knowledgeable about sinus lift and dental implants in Indianapolis? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Edwards today.