Getting dental implants is the ideal way to replace lost teeth, but some people may be disappointed when they visit the dentist to hear that they are not a good candidate for implants. That means that the dentist has determined that due to the patient’s health or other factors, there is a lower chance than average of the implants successfully fusing to the bone and becoming a permanent part of the patient’s mouth. It can also mean that the patient simply doesn’t have one natural ingredient that is required for implants: sufficient healthy jaw bone.
If there isn’t enough jaw bone in your mouth, dental implants can’t be placed. The problem is that when you lose your natural teeth, the bone that was holding them in place is suddenly unnecessary, or so your body thinks. The bone then begins to wear away. This is why denture wearers who lost their teeth years ago often find out that they can’t get implants because they don’t have enough bone left, especially in the upper, back portion of their mouth. But there is a method of replacing lost bone in that area that makes implants possible for these patients. A bone graft, which takes bone from elsewhere in your own body or from another source, can be performed. But before that, a procedure may need to be done to make room for the new bone to be added. This is called a sinus lift.
A sinus lift is literally lifts the sinus upward to allow room for the placement of bone graft material. The procedure involves both the lifting of the sinus and the placement of the bone graft material. After that, some healing time is usually required before implants can be placed, though in some cases it might be possible for the implants to be placed at the same time the sinus lift is performed.
A sinus lift might also be necessary if the natural height or position of the jaw and sinus is not suitable for implant placement. Problems with the upper jaw bone are more common for people seeking implants because this area has less bone than the lower jaw naturally.
If you thought you couldn’t get dental implants because you lost your teeth too long ago, call our Washington DC office and ask about sinus lift. We can set up a consultation appointment at your convenience.