If you've been following this blog, you'll know what a dental implant is. But for the newcomers, here's a quick rundown: A dental implant is an artificial man made root, typically made of titanium that is implanted into your jaw in order to house a number of different dental prostheses, including bridges and dentures. It's utilized to help replace a missing tooth, or is an alternative to dentures. You can learn more about dental implants here. (link to blog)
A sinus lift can be used in conjunction with dental implants in order to add bone to your upper jaw, primarily in regards to the premolar and molar area. There are a few reasons why a sinus lift is used when considering dental implants in the back of the upper jaw:
- Because of the way the jaw is shaped, many people do not have enough bone in their upper jaw to support a dental implant.
- The sinus may get larger as you age, or may simply be too close to the implant spot.
- The loss of teeth could also cause bone loss in the area. Bone begins to get resorbed back into the body once teeth are missing, meaning if you wait a long time to get implants, the bone loss may be substantial enough to warrant a sinus lift.
So what is a sinus lift?
Simply put, bone is added in your upper jaw, in between your sinuses close to the gum line area. The sinus is lifted, hence the name, to make room for the new bone.
When you go see your dentist for replacing missing teeth near the back of the mouth, they'll most likely take x-rays to see if they need to perform a sinus lift. Not everyone will need the sinus lift. It is typically more common for those who wait too long to get dental implants.
If you do, you'll go into surgery, where the dentist will go through the gum tissue, and the sinus membrane is pushed away from your upper jaw. Bone graft material is placed, the dentist stitches you up, and you are allowed to get your implants upwards of nine months later. Although this extra step sounds like a big undertaking, it's critical to the success of the dental implants and the preservation of your dental health.
How do you know if you need a sinus lift?
As stated above, it will really vary from patient to patient. The first step is to schedule a consultation to meet with a dental implant expert so they can take x-rays and formulate a successful strategy for dental implants. Sometimes this will require a sinus lift, sometimes not.
You can schedule a free consultation with dental implant expert, Dr. John of Franklin Dental and he can give you a great explanation of what it will take to give you a beautiful smile.