Ridge and Sinus Augmentations
What is a Sinus?
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
The Sinus Augmentation Procedure:
The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation.
In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, a small incision is made on the premolar or molar region to expose the jawbone. A small opening is cut into the bone, and the membrane lining the sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material, either from your own body or from a cadaver. Sometimes, synthetic materials that can imitate bone formation are used. After the bone is implanted, the incision is stitched up and the healing process begins. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option besides wearing loose dentures
Did you know…
that tooth loss is not the only reason for getting a ridge or sinus augmentation? Many patients have deteriorated gum lines or inadequate jaw bone support caused by oral diseases, such as periodontal disease, or a physical trauma to the face. Others experience bone atrophy caused by prolonged denture wear. By grafting in bone and building up the gum line, a dentist can make it possible for a patient’s jaw and gums to support permanent dental implants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for sinus or ridge augmentation?
You may be a candidate for a sinus or ridge augmentation if you have been denied dental implants in the past due to inadequate supporting tissues. You may also qualify if your receded gum line is a source of insecurity or embarrassment. To find out more about sinus and ridge augmentations and whether you qualify, contact your dentist for a consultation today.
What should I expect during a sinus or ridge augmentation?
Ridge augmentations begin with the administration of a local anesthetic used to numb treatment areas and prevent pain. Graft material will then be placed into the tooth socket where the missing tooth once was. Your dentist will then pull surrounding gum tissue over the graft material and suture it shut. Sinus lift augmentations are similar, except your dentist will instead make an incision to expose the sinus floor and use hard graft materials to build up the sinus floor. The site will be sutured shut and allowed time to heal before additional treatments, such as a dental implant, are completed.
Will I need to follow any special instructions following my procedure?
It is normal to experience some swelling and discomfort following your procedure though these symptoms should subside within a few days.