Dental implants are a very effective option for replacing missing teeth – they are stable, durable, and natural-looking. They come with requirements in a candidate, however. You must have sufficient bone structure (to support the implants) and have enough bone height in the upper jaw. If you do not meet the second requirement but are interested in having dental implants placed, a sinus lift procedure may be able to help. Dr. Mitchell Josephs offers this treatment for patients in Palm Beach, Fl.
A sinus lift, also sometimes called a sinus augmentation, is a surgical procedure to add bone to your upper jaw in the area of the molars and premolars. It is called a “lift” because your sinus membrane has to be moved upward, or “lifted,” to make room for the bone that is added between the jaw and the maxillary sinuses (located on either side of your nose).
A sinus lift may be necessary if you do not have enough bone height in the upper jaw or if the sinuses are too close to the jaw for dental implants to be placed. These issues could be the result of gum disease, tooth loss, or simply the natural placement or size of the maxillary sinus.
The bone used in a sinus lift procedure can come from your own body (autogenous bone, taken from other areas of your mouth or body), a cadaver (allogeneic bone), or cow bone (xenograft). X-rays will need to be taken before the procedure can begin to allow your dentist to study the anatomy of your jaw and sinus. A CT (computed tomography) scan may also be necessary to accurately measure the height and width of your existing bone. You should not undergo this procedure while you are suffering from seasonal allergies.
During the surgery, your surgeon will cut the gum tissue where the back teeth used to be and raise it to expose the bone. A small, oval window will then be opened in the bone. The sinus membrane, the lining that separates your sinus from your jaw, will be gently pushed up and away from your jaw. The bone-graft material will then be packed into the space where the sinus was. The amount will vary from patient to patient, but is generally several millimeters.
Once all the needed granules of bone have been placed, the tissue will be closed using stitches. The site will be left alone for four to nine months to allow it to heal before the dental implants can be placed. You will receive instructions on how to handle the surgical site following the procedure.
If you are considering dental implants as a teeth replacement solution in Palm Beach, make an appointment for a consultation at Dr. Mitchell Josephs. We can help determine your candidacy as well as guide you through the procedure.