Another major concern for dental implants along the upper row of teeth is the impact these implants can have on sinuses. Essentially, the upper back jaw is a very difficult area for dental implant procedures, due not only to insufficient bone quality and quantity, but also the presence of the sinuses.
Like other areas of the mouth, lack of quality bone foundation may require a bone graft to provide sufficient purchase. In the case of the upper teeth, surgeons may opt for a procedure known as "sinus augmentation." This technique involves lifting the existing bone into the sinus cavity, creating more space to accommodate a bone graft, which can also help regenerate new tissue to support an implant.
A typical bone graph during a sinus augmentation procedure requires four months to a year to fully develop. However, patients ought to consider that time as an investment, as implant surgery following complete augmentation procedures often have a lifespan similar to normal implant work [source: AAP].
Problems can also arise if the implants actually protrude into the sinus and are inflamed or infected. This condition should be readily detected by X-ray or CT scan. Once detected, the repair is relatively commonplace, though it should not be considered "minor" surgery.
Implant patients with prior sinus issues are also encouraged to be forthright with their oral surgeons during discussions about possible implant surgery, since that procedure can exacerbate existing problems. A simple percussion test on the teeth can reveal an existing sinus infection.
Also, some research indicates that dental implants may need additional treatment compared to traditional root canal surgery. In general, dental experts recommend continued adherence to a sound oral hygiene program and avoidance of hard items, such as ice and hard candy, which can break both article crowns and natural teeth. People who grind their teeth ought to get treatment to avoid damaging their implants.
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