What if I’m told that I don’t have enough jaw bone volume to place an implant?
The fixture of the dental implant replaces the tooth root and acts like an artificial root, which allows the abutment and prosthetic to be attached. For the implant fixture to secure successful, there has to been a particular amount of bone in the jaw for the implant to take hold. If you have been missing a tooth or have badly damaged teeth, your facial bones may have shrunk over time, and there may not be enough bone for implant fixture to be placed.
A bone graft procedure is a fairly common way to add bone ‘volume’ to the area, which then allows for the implant fixture to be placed. After your initial assessment and x-rays, your dentist will know the depth and quality of your bone and then recommend the bone grafting option best for you.
When a patient has lost their rear upper molars, their tooth roots can no longer stimulate the bone which can cause bone atrophy (wasting). This atrophy causes the upper jaw to expand (sinus pneumatisation), leaving inadequate bone to support dental implants. A sinus lift – which is a bone graft in the upper jaw that pushes the sinus upwards – can remedy this problem.
A sinus lift is also known as a sinus augmentation, sinus graft or sinus elevation.
Understanding a sinus lift
A sinus lift involves bone grafting, but it differs as the new bone is deposited higher in the upper jaw. The extra bone sits internally, not outwards or downwards, as with a bone graft in the lower jaw. Consequently, a bone graft requires more post-operative care.
With a sinus lift, you won’t feel any dramatic changes in your mouth or gums. You may even be able to wear a denture afterwards without disturbing the healing process, which can take anywhere between three to 12 months, depending on the amount of sinus grafting required.
In some instances, the implant fixtures can be placed at the same time as the sinus grafting procedure. Implants placed in sites that have been grafted show similar success and survival rates as implants placed in native natural bone. At Aria Dental, our experienced team perform sinus graft procedures routinely. We often use piezosurgery which is less invasive than conventional surgical methods, with quicker recovery time.
After surgery, you may experience swelling and bruising around the cheeks and some discomfort which can be managed with appropriate analgesics.
After your sinus lift, you must avoid altering the internal pressure of the sinus cavity. This means avoiding:
- blowing your nose