Kansas City Dental Implant Blog:
One of the vital cogs to successful dental implant treatment is the availability of adequate jaw bone (preferably fairly dense high quality bone.) Unfortunately, we frequently find inadequate bone volume in the upper jaw towards the back of the mouth, where the molars are located. This is due to the presence of the maxillary sinus which often extends down around the roots of the upper molars. When our heads grow and develop in our childhood, the teeth form into the sinus and the roots are surrounded by bone and the sinus membrane. Yet when teeth are lost often we can’t simply stick an implant into the same spot up into the sinus where the tooth was. Worse yet when a tooth is lost without replacement for more than a few years, significant bone loss typically occurs and too little bone remains for an implant.
Fortunately, there have been great advances in bone grafting over the last 20 years. Perhaps the easiest and most predictable area of the body in which to grow bone happens to be in the maxillary sinus. So even for those with large sinus cavities, we can usually perform a sinus lift, and subsequently successfully place a dental implant with excellent long term results. The maxillary sinuses are located towards the top of the upper teeth, somewhat behind the cheeks. In general, the sinuses serve very few useful functions, but as we know they can be the source of very annoying and troublesome infections (sinus infections). They are hollow spaces in your head covered by a thin membrane and sometimes contain various amounts of mucous. It is important that no foreign bodies enter the sinus, including dental implants. Foreign objects within the sinus provide a perfect home “nidus” for bacteria, and usually cause chronic sinus infections.
To solve this dilemma, we can perform a sinus lift (aka sinus augmentation) to fill part of the sinus with jaw bone and create an ideal environment for a successful dental implant. The procedure is relatively simple. We simply make a small window in the side of the jaw bone and then push the sinus membrane away from the floor of the sinus. Then we pack bone grafting materials under the membrane which effectively raises the floor of the sinus, once the graft has matured. Depending on how much bone originally existed below the sinus, it may be possible to place the implant while performing the sinus augmentation. In other cases, where very little bone was previously present, it will be necessary to allow the graft to heal for several months prior to the surgical placement of a dental implant, to obtain adequate primary stability of the implant to ensure osseointegration. In instances where there is just slightly inadequate bone present, a sinus tap can be used to place the implant. In this procedure, the tip of the implant will just barely enter the sinus cavity, but will not perforate the sinus membrane, and consequently will not result in infection.
Dr. Davis was trained by Dr. Carl Misch himself in the sinus augmentation procedure. Dr. Davis has completed numerous sinus augmentation procedures successfully at his Kansas City dental implant office.
Please give Dr. Davis a call or email with any questions.
Dr. Robert Davis is your Kansas City dental implant dentist.