Sinus Lifts May Be the Solution
Dental implants are a great solution for lost teeth. The success rate for implants is very high and they look and feel like the rest of your teeth. The only problem is that some people lack enough healthy jawbone for the implant to be placed. We’ll explain why this happens and how this problem can be resolved.
The problem starts with loss of bone mass. Bone loss can occur before the tooth is removed, if inflammation or infection is allowed to exist for an extended time. Inflammation and bacteria under the gum cause erosion of the section of the jawbone supporting affected teeth.
The other way bone mass is lost is if a tooth is missing for a considerable time. Because jawbone is built to support teeth, it’s kept healthy by the usual stresses of biting and chewing. When these stresses are missing, the bone begins to break down. It could even collapse in on itself.
Healthy Bone is Needed for an Implant
A dental implant needs strong, healthy bone for support. To start a dental implant, a titanium device shaped much like the root of your old tooth must be placed. Once it’s in your jawbone, it bonds with the bone and forms a very strong base on which to mount a crown to replace the missing tooth. Bone loss in either the upper or lower jaw could mean that there’s not enough bone to hold an implant.
Most people know they have sinuses – or open spaces – in their facial bones. They’re located around the nose and above and below the eyes. When there’s loss of bone in the upper jaw, the mass of bone between the sinuses and roots of the teeth gets thinner. The roots could even penetrate the sinuses. The bone in this area needs to be thick enough to securely hold an implant. When this bone is too thin, there’s still a solution.
Performing a Sinus Lift
The procedure to provide enough bone for an implant is called a sinus lift. In this procedure, the membrane that lines the sinuses is accessed through the jawbone and then lifted. The empty area below this membrane is filled with bone granules – either granules taken from elsewhere in the patient’s own body or donated bone from other sources.
Over the next several months, this bone matter will bond with surrounding bone and harden. When the healing process is complete, the patient has plenty of bone thickness in the upper jaw for placement of an implant.
Choosing a Qualified Oral Surgeon
This is a precise, sensitive procedure that should only be performed by a qualified oral surgeon. No patient should allow a dentist without extensive training in oral surgery to perform a sinus lift.
Dr. Virginia Lee specializes in just this kind of precise procedure. Dr. Lee recognized the need in the dental community for expert oral surgeons so after dental school, she continued her training in oral and facial surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Systems and Adam Crowley’s Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland. She has been practicing since 1998, and has built the Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center to provide this expert level of care for patients in the Washington, D.C. area and from outside the region as well.
If you have been told you need a sinus lift before an implant, contact us to take advantage of our new patient special offer for a 3D x-ray, exam and consultation. We’ll help you understand how we can help you complete your recommended program for a sinus lift and implants to restore your smile and the health of the bones in this area. Call 202-296-6600 today.