Dental implants

If you are missing teeth, it might be time to consider dental implants.

Dental implants are a titanium post inserted into your jaw to act like the root of a real tooth and provide support for bridges, crowns or even dentures. Unlike more traditional crown and bridge procedures dental implants eliminate the need to grind down healthy teeth. They are versatile and stable enough to replace single missing teeth with individual crowns, a few missing teeth with a single bridge or even a full bridge or full dentures where the majority of teeth are missing. Denture wearers in particular may like to consider this option as a long term effective solution to missing teeth without the pain and discomfort normally associated with dentures. There is no need for adhesives and you will not develop painful sores. Implants will also help to keep the natural shape of your face by simulating the jaw bone.

The dental implant is inserted into the jaw bone and then left to heal for a number of months. The length of time this healing process will take will depend on the individual. The implant must integrate with the jaw bone and surrounding tissue to provide firm support for the crown, bridge or dentures.

Sinus Augmentation

Sometimes in order to have dental implants fitted you may have to have another procedure first. This procedure Sinus Augmentation (or Sinus Lift) is performed when there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw or if the sinuses are too close to the jaw for implants to be safely fitted. This type of surgery has become more popular over the last 15 years as more people now have dental implants to replace their missing teeth.

Bone can be lost in this area for a number of reasons:

  • Due to the anatomy of an individual’s skull there is not enough bone in the upper jaw for implants to be placed.
  • Bone can be lost due to previous gum disease.
  • Long term missing teeth. After a tooth has been missing for a while the surrounding bone begins to be reabsorbed into the body. If teeth have been missing for a long period of time there may not be enough bone left to support dental implants.

Sometimes Sinus Augmentation needs to be carried out as the maxillary sinus is too close to the upper jaw for the implant to be placed. The shape and size of these sinuses varies in each individual. They often grow larger with age. If you suffer with seasonal allergies it is important to schedule your surgery for a time when they are not active.

Before the surgery can take place several tests may need to be carried out. X-rays need to be taken to check the anatomy of the jaw and sinuses. Additionally you may need a CT scan to measure the density of the existing bone and to evaluate your sinus health.

The sinus lift surgery is performed by a specialist Oral or Maxillofacial Surgeon or Periodontist, adds small amounts of bone to the upper jaw around the area of the molars and pre-molars, between the jaw and the maxillary sinuses either side of the nose. The sinus membrane is lifted upwards to make room for the extra bone. The bone used for the procedure can either be outogenous bone (from your own body) or cow bone (xenograft). If it is not possible to use your own bone for the graft for any reason the xenograft we use is Geistich Bio-Oss® with 10% collagen. The extraction of your teeth will take place under local anaesthetic and if you are anxious about the treatment you can ask about IV sedation at your consultation.

Your surgeon will make a small cut in your gum where your back teeth were. They will raise the gum and expose the bone. They will then make a small window shaped incision in the bone. The membrane lining of the sinus is on the other side of this window and separates the sinus from the jaw. During the surgery this membrane will be pushed up and away from the jaw bone. Bone graft material will then be packed into the space vacated by the sinus membrane. The surgeon will then close the tissue with stitches and left to heal.

Dental implants can then be fitted between 4-9 months later depending on how quickly you heal. This period of time allows the grafted bone material to integrate with your jaw bone. Larger amounts of grafted bone will take longer to heal.

Risks involved with Sinus Lift Surgery

Sinus Lift surgery is a relatively low risk form of dental surgery. Although as with any surgery there is some small level of risk. The main risk is that during the procedure the sinus membrane will become punctured or torn. Your surgeon will attempt to stitch or patch the membrane but if this is not possible the procedure will be stopped and will be repeated once the hole in the membrane has healed. The repeat procedure is more likely to be successful as the healed membrane will be thicker and stronger.

The possibility of infection is present as in all surgery but thankfully is a very rare occurrence with sinus lifts.
Occasionally the bone graft does not integrate with the existing jaw bone and no bloody supply develops. In this case a dental implant could not be supported as there is not live bone to attach to. If this happens the sinus lift procedure will need to be repeated.

After Care

It is normal to have some swelling after the sinus lift procedure. You may also experience a little bleeding from your nose or mouth. You may find you have a small amount of discomfort but this should pass quickly. This is perfectly normal and is not a cause for concern. It is important that you don’t blow your nose or sneeze forcefully during the healing period. You could cause your bone graft to move or loosen your stitches and the procedure would need to be repeated.

You may receive a saline spray to keep the inner lining of your nose moist. You will also need to take medication to reduce congestion and inflammation. In addition you may be prescribed pain relief medication, an antibiotic and an antimicrobial mouth wash to prevent any infection from forming.

You need to see your dentist 7-10 days after your surgery to check your progress and healing. The dentist will remove any stitches that have not dissolved. You may be asked to return for a couple of subsequent appointments to ensure the area is healing correctly and no infection is present.

After you have had sinus augmentation you must wait a number of months until your are able to have your dental implants fitted. The bone grafts must have time to harden and integrate with your existing bone. This generally takes between 4-9 months.


If you’re searching for implants in Eccleshall, Stafford or the surrounding areas, then please contact Eccleshall Dental Clinic 01785 850199.