When people are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, dental implants are an excellent option to consider for treatment. These artificial tooth roots can support crowns, bridges, or dentures after someone has lost their teeth.
Tooth loss can cause a number of problems that may prevent someone from getting dental implants. The team at our Harrisonburg, VA dental practice would like to explore these issues in more detail below and discuss how a sinus lift can help.
Bone Loss When Missing a Tooth
When a tooth goes missing, the jawbone in the area of the tooth gap will often shrink away since there is no tooth root to support. This is known as bone loss. If a person would like to get dental implants to support a crown, bridge, or denture following tooth loss, the bone density will need to be built up so the dental implant can be properly anchored in place.
Issues with the Sinus Membrane
In addition to bone loss, dentists must also consider the sinus membrane when trying to place dental implants on the upper dental arch. Sometimes the sinus is relatively low and too close to the bone of the upper dental arch. In these cases, the sinus will need to be lifted in order for there to be sufficient bone to anchor a dental implant.
This is where a sinus lift comes into play.
How a Sinus Lift Works
A sinus lift is a type of bone grafting procedure that can help build bone density in the upper dental arch. During a sinus lift, an oral surgeon can repositions the sinus membrane and create greater density of the upper jaw, allowing patients to get dental implants with a much lower risk of implant failure.
Ideal Candidates for a Sinus Lift
Good candidates for sinus lift surgery are people who have issues with the upper dental arch, bone density, and/or the position of the sinus that prevent them from getting dental implants. They should be in good overall health and not suffer from medical conditions that would make a sinus lift a potential health risk.
The Sinus Lit Procedure
The oral surgeon first makes an incision along the gum tissue to the reveal part of the upper dental arch. The bone of the upper dental arch is slightly cut away to access the sinus membrane. The oral surgeon lifts the sinus membrane and then fills the space with bone grafts. The area is then sutured closed to heal.
Healing After a Sinus Lift
After the sinus lift is performed, it will take a few months for the bone grafts to fuse with the natural bone structure of the upper dental arch. Only when the bone grafts have fused with the natural bone can the implant dentistry process resume.
Resuming Dental Implants Treatment
With a strong upper dental arch fully healed, a patient can finally have the necessary dental implant or multiple dental implants placed. While the overall implant dentistry process will take another few months for post-op healing, many patients feel that the benefits of dental implants are worth the wait and the extra work.
Learn More About Sinus Lift
For more information about sinus lift surgery and how it can help you get dental implants, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. The team here at Smiles for Life looks forward to your visit and discussing all of your options for treatment.