People who want to replace their missing teeth with permanent dental implants sometimes see a dentist only to be told that they can’t have implants because they don’t have enough bone to support them. This happens because as soon as a tooth is lost, the bone in the jaws that supported it begins to wear way from lack of use. After a year or more goes by, someone who has missing teeth, even if they wear dentures or have bridgework, is unlikely to have enough bone left for dental implants to be successful.
The good news is that there are ways that these patients can actually have lost bone replaced so that dental implants will be a possibility. Bone grafting can replace bone in many cases, but sometimes a procedure called a sinus lift may also be necessary.
When bone is lacking in the upper jaw, a sinus lift can make space for grafted bone to fit. The upper jaw is often the most problematic area when it comes to a lack of bone for implants. This is because there is less bone there to begin with, and back molars are more susceptible to problems and for many people, they are the first natural teeth to be lost. Gum disease can also cause bone loss, and back teeth are harder to clean so plaque and tartar buildup can be worse in the back of the mouth.
A sinus lift is a surgical procedure that involves lifting your sinus up and placing bone graft material in the open space. The bone used in the graft can come from your own body in what is called an autogenous bone graft. Other options for bone grafting are to use bone from a human cadaver or a cow. Each type of bone graft has advantages and disadvantages, which you can discuss in detail with the dentist before any work towards getting dental implants begins.
After healing from the sinus lift and bone graft is complete, the process of installing implants can begin once it has been determined that the new bone has successfully meshed with the jaw bone. For many people, a sinus lift can make the difference between having permanent dental implants or having to spend life with loose, ill-fitting dentures.
If you have been without teeth for a long time or if you have already been told that you don’t have enough bone for implants, there may be a solution. If you are interested in learning more about how a sinus lift could help you to become a candidate for dental implants, call Orangevale Dental now to set up a consultation appointment.