There are several sinus cavities in your head. A sinus cavity is a space filled with air. These cavities, which are located around your nose, are lined with soft tissue called mucosa. The largest sinus cavities in your head are the maxillary sinus cavities. They are located just behind your cheeks. The roots of some of your molars extend up near these cavities. If you lose these teeth, the bone separating the jaw from the sinus cavities becomes thin. If the bone is too thin, trying to place dental implants can lead to complications. At Treasure Valley Oral & Facial Surgery, we can help to improve the success of dental implants with a sinus lift.
What Happens to the Jaw When You Lose Teeth?
Tooth loss has several significant effects. One of the biggest effects is what happens to your smile. Tooth loss affects how well you can bite, chew, and speak. Losing teeth also have a major impact on your jawbone.
Your teeth stimulate your jaw every time that you chew. This stimulation is what lets your body know that nutrients are needed. After tooth loss, the jaw loses the stimulation from the missing teeth. Because of this, the body begins to think that fewer nutrients are needed, and therefore sends fewer. Over time, the bone begins to weaken and lose mass. When this happens, the bone begins to change shape. Adjacent teeth begin to shift out of alignment, altering your bite. Not only does this affect your smile, but it also affects your oral health, leaving you at greater risk for cavities, gum disease, and tooth damage.
Dental implants can help to put a stop to and prevent, bone loss in the jaw after tooth loss. The implant posts, which are placed directly into your jaw, restore the stimulation from your missing teeth. With stimulation restored, your jawbone remains healthy and strong. However, to be successful, your jaw needs to have enough bone mass to fuse properly to the posts. If your jawbone is too weak, the bone cannot fuse properly, and you may be faced with implant failure.
Dental Implants and the Sinus Cavities
In the upper jaw, there are additional complications, particularly if you lose the molars near your sinus cavities. If these teeth are lost, the bone separating the jaw from the sinus cavities becomes thin. Not only is it more difficult for the bone to fuse properly to an implant post, but there is also a much higher risk that the implant could pierce the sinus cavity. If this happens, not only could you be faced with implant failure, you may also be faced with chronic sinus infections and other complications.
Sinus Lift for Dental Implants
A sinus lift is a surgical procedure that is performed to protect the sinus cavities and increase the success of dental implants. This particular treatment involves the use of a bone graft. A bone graft is a surgical procedure that involves transplanting bone mass from another area of your body, or taking bone mass from a donor, to the weak areas of your jaw. As you heal, your existing bone fuses to the graft, restoring strength and increasing the success of dental implants.
To perform a sinus lift, we first make incisions in your gum tissue to expose the bone underneath. Next, small incisions are made in your jawbone near the molars and premolars. Specialized tools are inserted to lift the floors of the sinus cavities. Next, the bone graft material is placed underneath. Finally, your gums are sutured closed. After you have fully healed from your sinus lift, then the process for dental implants can begin.
Types of Bone Grafts for a Sinus Lift
There are a few different types of bone grafts that may be used for a sinus lift. The graft recommended for you is based upon your specific situation. With a thorough exam, we can help to determine your best option.
An autograft is a bone graft that uses mass taken from your own body. The bone mass is typically harvested from the hip or tibia. Because the bone is taken from your own body, it requires an additional surgical site. However, because it is your bone, there is no risk for disease transmission.
An allograft is one that involves using bone tissue from a compatible donor. With this type of bone graft, you do not need a second surgical site. The bone is screened thoroughly before use to ensure safety and reduce your risk for complications.
A xenograft is one that uses bone mass taken from an animal source, typically a cow. The bone is processed at very high temperatures to render it safe to use. Like an allograft, a xenograft does not require an additional surgical site. This type of bone graft may be recommended when larger amounts of bone mass are needed.
A sinus lift restores missing bone mass, creating more space between the jawbone and your sinus cavities. This helps to protect the maxillary sinus cavities while also improving the success of dental implants. For more information, call Treasure Valley Oral & Facial Surgery today at (208) 994-6227.