While dental implants have good success rates, one challenging aspect of maxillary—or upper jaw—implants is their proximity to the sinus cavities. Due to unique patient anatomy, bone resorption, and other factors, some dental implants may sit too close to the sinus cavity and cause inflammation, sinusitis, or even sinus membrane perforation. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent this issue, and there are ways to correct arising issues after surgery. Read on to learn more.
How Can Sinus Issues Be Prevented?
If you don't have enough upper jaw bone to support implants, or the implant space sits too close to the sinus cavity, your dentist might recommend a sinus augmentation, mini implants, or tilted implants to improve your surgical outcomes.
A sinus augmentation is a procedure where your dentist will lift the sinus membrane to create more room for a bone graft. A sinus augmentation may be a good option for people who've been missing teeth for a while and have experienced bone resorption. The main downside of this procedure is that it can take many months for bone grafts to heal. However, this procedure can prevent future sinus issues and help to improve osseointegration.
Mini implants have the same function as standard implants, but the implant posts are much shorter. One benefit of mini-implants is that you may not need a sinus augmentation or bone graft to get them. Surgery for mini-implants is less invasive and less costly than traditional implants as well. The main downside of mini-implants is that you still need some sufficient vertical bone or else they aren't a good option for replacing teeth in the upper jaw.
Implants can be placed in the jaw line at different angles to improve osseointegration. Some tilted implants, like zygomatic implants, are actually anchored into the cheekbone instead of the jaw bone. One study found that tilted implants could be an effective alternative to sinus augmentation surgery. These types of implants could be a good option for people who don't qualify for bone grafts or mini-implants.
How Can You Prevent and Fix Post-Op Sinus Issues?
Even with solutions like sinus augmentations or tilted implants, some patients may still be prone to sinus issues. To reduce the chances of inflammation, sinusitis, or sinus membrane perforation, it's important to follow your dentist's aftercare instructions. For instance, your dentist may have you avoid blowing your nose or drinking from a straw, as these actions can increase the risk of sinus pressure and healing issues.
If you are having a runny nose, headaches, or pressure inside of the cheekbones that doesn't improve, you should reach out to your dentist to check for sinus issues. If the implant has penetrated the sinus cavity, some dentists may be able to remove the apical portion of the implant, and the membrane will heal over the rest of the implant body. Some dentists may also recommend an endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) to debride any inflamed tissue in the sinus cavity.
As you can see, while maxillary implants can increase the risk of sinus issues, there are many ways to prevent problems before and after surgery. Reach out to your dentist today for more details.