Dental implants are an excellent option for tooth replacement. Almost anyone can have one or more teeth replaced with an implant. If you require implants on the upper jaw, however, and lack sufficient bone mass to support them, you might require sinus augmentation.
Sinus Augmentation and Implants
Dental implants are made of titanium or a titanium alloy and are shaped much like a screw. Once this implant is placed in the jawbone, a prosthetic tooth or teeth is placed on it. In order for the implant to work properly, there must be sufficient bone mass in the supporting jawbone.
In the upper jaw, bone mass can be affected by the shape and size of the sinuses. Even if the jawbone is healthy and strong, there might not be as much bone as necessary because of the placement of the sinuses. In these cases, an oral surgeon can increase the thickness of the bone with a sinus augmentation procedure.
What is Sinus Augmentation?
Sinus augmentation is oral surgery that adds bone mass to the upper jaw. Augmentation might involve a bone graft placed under the gum tissue. In other cases, the bone is placed between the jaw and the sinus. To make room for the graft, the sinus membrane is lifted out of the way. This surgery is also referred to as a sinus lift.
Augmentation can be necessary because the jawbone has deteriorated over time. This is particularly common among people who have had missing teeth for some time. Without tooth roots to stimulate growth, the jawbone is resorbed and bone mass diminishes. Sometimes, though, augmentation is necessary because of the size, shape, or placement of the maxillary sinus. Its placement can affect the thickness of the bone in that portion of the skull, and if the sinus opening is too close to the tooth roots, augmentation provides additional bone for the implants.
To find out more about dental implants and sinus augmentation, please contact our oral surgery office at 703-425-5010 to schedule a consultation.