If you are looking into dental implants to replace missing teeth you may be wondering if you need a bone graft. In order for a dental implant to be successful, you need strong jaw bone density so the implant can actually be stable in your mouth. If you don't have strong enough bone density or enough room in your upper jaw for an implant, your dentist may recommend a sinus lift procedure. Read on to learn more.
What is a Sinus Lift?
The sinuses are the hollow cavities around your cheeks, forehead, and nose. The main purpose of your sinuses is to provide mucus that moisturizes your nose. Some people have poor upper jawbone density, so if an implant were placed in the upper jaw, it would be too close to the sinus cavities. So a sinus lift is a surgery where your dentist lifts the sinus cavity and then increases bone density in the area with a graft.
Who Needs a Sinus Lift?
You'll need to consult with your dentist to see if you need a sinus lift before implants. He or she may take x-rays to see how your sinus cavities relate to your upper jaw.
People who might need a sinus lift before an implant include those:
who have large maxillary sinuses
who have bone loss from periodontal disease
who've suffered from bone reabsorption from missing premolars/molars
Obviously, if you are getting a dental implant in your lower jaw, you won't need a sinus lift surgery, but you could still require a bone graft surgery.
What is the Procedure Like?
Your general dentist may refer you to a dental specialist, like an oral surgeon or a prosthodontist to complete this procedure.
Before he or she begins the procedure, your dentist will numb the surgical site. If only a small area needs to be raised, your dentist may use a local anesthetic and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). If you need more invasive surgery to have the sinus raised, then your dentist may use general anesthesia.
Your dentist will then use a blade to cut through the gum tissue and expose the jawbone. He or she will then cut tiny holes in the jaw bone which are then gently raised to push the sinus membrane upwards. As the sinus membrane is raised, your dentist will fill the small holes with a bone graft. After the graft is placed, your dentist will then close up the gum tissue with sutures. These stitches will dissolve after about a week.
After the procedure, you will need to rest at home for about a week before returning to your normal activities, and you should expect some facial bruising, swelling, and tenderness
How Soon Can You Get Your Dental Implant Afterwards?
While you may be eager to get your dental implant immediately after a sinus lift, you'll need to wait many months for site to heal and for the graft to integrate with your jawbone.
While you may want to speed up the process, it's better to wait until your jawbone density increases. If there isn't sufficient bone density to support the implant, then the implant post may not integrate with your bone, and you may have to redo the procedure due to implant failure.
Reach out to a dentist in your area to learn more about dental implants and how sinus lifts/grafts can help improve your success rates.