FAQ's & areas for patients to consider with Dental Implants & Sinus Lifts

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by Dr Mani Bhardwaj

Does sinus bone grafting affect my breathing?

As this is a very safe procedure and routine in most implant surgery the safety and success of this type of surgery is high and generally this should not affect the breathing and in some cases can help to clear the sinus to allow clearer sinus flow. Infections can occur which your trained Dentist will manage as required but overall this procedure is not one to cause any sort of breathing difficulty.

Can sinus grafting be avoided to have dental implants?

This depends on the quantity and quality of the bone in the jaw where the surgical implant is to be placed. There are other methods out there which can bypass this sort of grafting procedure but the best way to avoid this type of surgery when possible is to have the implant replace the lost teeth sooner than later as leaving the gap for long periods allows the sinus to drop down and reduce the bone height in the jaw where we need to replace the teeth. Your highly trained dentist would be able to guide you more depending on your case situation.

What material do we fill the sinus graft with?

The bone grafting technique used to graft the sinus would generally be using bone graft material either from your own bone/ bone from cadaver source ie donated/ bone matrix from a animal source such as Bio-Oss (which is commonly used) or in some cases a mix of all or some. Usually this also may be supplemented with other material such as Platelet Rich Plasma. These materials allow the surgery to stimulate the bone production and in the end allow the use of dental implants in bone created in the sinus space elevated.

The whole procedure and graft material should be discussed with you prior to the surgery date so that you have the chance to fully understand what is being used and that you can consent to the treatment and materials.

Can dental implants fail?

While the track record of successful implants is very impressive, they also do have a number of failures which can be due a number of reasons and usually are due to the following; failed osseo-integration, peri-implantitis infection, nerve or tissue damage, overloading. Rare risks could be body rejection to the implant itself, allergic reaction or foreign body rejection.

Does osteoporosis affect my treatment?

You should always consult your dentist who is performing your dental implant surgery, however if the patient has osteoporosis and is otherwise fit and well with no history of using bisphosphonate medication then you should assess and treat this patient as any other. The difficulty arises where the patient has or is on bisphosphonate treatment then the bone remodelling and reproducing cycle is majorly affected thus causing the bone quality and possibly quantity to be questioned. In such cases the case needs to be assessed on its own merits and then your dental professional needs to guide you to the best and safest route of treatment.

How long should it take to recover after implant/sinus surgery treatment?

This question has been asked many times and many people misjudge the time their body does take to heal. Theoretically you will usually be able to walk out of the dental office unaccompanied after such surgeries however this can be varied.

The surgery severity needs to be assessed and the dental professional; who is carrying out the surgery should be able to give you a rough idea of healing time and possibly also if you are required to take time off work. I have personally have many of my patients return to work straight after and even some go clubbing although I would not advocate this. The body will need time to heal like after any other surgery and usually allowing the body to heal reduces many risks as failure or infection.

Please make sure you are adequately prepared for you healing time following surgery.

Should you eat foods or drink prior to the surgery time?

This question is asked even prior to some patients having fillings and the best answer to this would be to consult your dentist who is carrying out the procedure your have consented to have. Most cases this is fine do and sometimes probably a good idea as anxiety takes hold of the patients and by increasing the blood sugar level we can minimise fainting and giddiness.

There are scenarios where this may not be a good idea, such as when sedation is being carried out accompanying the sinus/implant surgery. This can increase the chance of having a sick like feeling and sometimes can cause the surgery to being called off. Please ensure you read any pre operative instructions you may be given and if not sure call the dental office to ask as this can cause issues if ignored.

Will I be able to eat after the surgery and will there be any other specific instructions once I have the surgery?

After the surgery once the numbness has past from the anaesthesia, you should be able to have some solids and also drink warm drinks. It is usually asked of the patients to avoid the side where the surgery has taken place so that you do not damage the site or loosen any stitches that may have been placed.

Maintaining a healthy well balanced diet is essential to speed recovery and also maintain bodily functions so this is a compulsory part of the post operative care that each patient should maintain.

Specific instructions should be provided in a written format as after the surgery there be many topics that you may forget or overlook, such example of this is to avoid blowing your nose after sinus grafting surgery.

The dental professional will ensure that any specific instructions are made available to you in written format and usually complementary calls and follow ups are provided from most leading dental offices, some even offering 24 hour emergency care.

Do implants require special care?

You must presume that your dental implants are like your own natural teeth, treating them in the same fashion thus, ensuring your return for regular check-ups and even brush and floss them like any other. Maintain good perioimplant care will ensure the longer life of the implants as periodontal and perioimplant disease being one of the major reasons for tooth and implant loss.

Does my insurance pay for dental implants or sinus grafting surgeries?

Some insurance plans may pay for them, and some do not, and some pay a portion of the costs such as the prosthesis on top of the implant like the crown.

Most dental plans do not provide for the surgical placement of implants. However, many do provide some restorative parts and this needs to be clarified prior to the surgery so you are not shocked with a surprise cost. Advanced implant reconstructive treatment can be considered to be medically aligned with restoration of normal chewing function and sometimes medical insurance will cover all or part of the treatments.  In some cases dental offices can help to receive funds for the treatments, but unfortunately it is not very predictable. The best advice here would be to speak to your insurance provider and clarify all issues right at the start so you are not left in the lurch.

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