A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. Missing upper back teeth are among the most difficult to restore. When the back teeth in the upper jaw are missing the sinus cavity becomes larger as the natural bone deteriorates over time. If you’ve lost bone in that area due to reasons such as periodontal disease or tooth loss, you may be left without enough bone to place implants.
A sinus lift, also called sinus augmentation or sinus elevation, is a bone –augmentation procedure for patients who have insufficient natural bone below the sinus so that one or more implants can be placed. Sinus lift surgery can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants. Several techniques can be used to raise the sinus and allow for new bone to form. In one common technique, an incision is made to expose the bone. Then a small circle is cut into the bone. This bony piece is lifted into the sinus cavity, much like a trap door, and the space underneath is filled with bone graft material. This can regenerate lost bone and tissue. Finally, the incision is closed and healing is allowed to take place. Depending on your individual needs, the bone usually will be allowed to develop for about four to 12 months before implants can be placed. After the implants are placed, an additional healing period is required. In some cases, the implant can be placed at the same time the sinus is augmented.
3D scan imaging often is incorporated into the sinus lift and implant process. This advanced imaging shows us the height and width of bone and the location of the maxillary sinus.3D imaging allows us to map out the details of existing structure and perform the sinus lift with the greatest amount of precision.
The procedure does not affect speech, intonation or cause sinus problems. Many patients experience minimal discomfort during this procedure. Undergoing sinus lift surgery has been shown to greatly increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.
by Dr. Nadia Abazarnia, DDS
By Dr. H. Kopel
Thousands of years ago teeth were replaced with bamboo, copper and iron implants. Even animal teeth and tooth shaped sea shells have been attempted as implants. Of course none of these ancient solutions were successful. In the 1800’s gold was tried too, but never successfully as the body would always reject these foreign substances.
In the mid 1900’s titanium was discovered to possess the properties that allowed the bone to fuse to it allowing Dr. Branemark to successfully place the first modern dental implant in 1965. Over the last few decades much research has been done regarding dental implants. Experimentation in shape and surface coating for the modern titanium implant has resulted in our current implants which are very predictable and well integrated into the jaw bones.
Implants are now considered the standard of care for replacing missing or badly damaged teeth. In the past when tooth extraction was necessary removable appliances or drilling down perfectly good teeth to make fixed bridges would be required for tooth replacement. Today’s implants allow us to provide strong, long lasting solutions to replace missing teeth for our patients.