Missing teeth make eating, smiling and speaking more difficult. It is your upper teeth, however, especially the front six teeth, that are most important for smiling and speaking. While dentures are better than no teeth, only dental implants offer the same standard of functionality and appearance as your natural teeth. But what about the effect on your sinuses?
If you suffer from sinusitis, you are probably worried that getting an upper dental implant might exacerbate the problem. You may also have heard that upper dental implants can cause sinus infections. While it is possible for an upper dental implant to cause sinus complications, these instances are rare, and treatable.
Bone Grafting Prevents Sinus Cavity Perforation
When a tooth is lost, whether in the lower or upper jaw, the bone in that area will begin to resorb, in other words, your body will absorb the bone since it is no longer needed. Most of this bone loss occurs in the first 6 months. There is a good chance then, that there will not be enough bone under the sinus cavity to support a dental implant.
In this case, a dental surgeon will perform a sinus lift bone graft. This procedure will fill the area under the sinus cavity with bone to provide stability for a dental implant. It will also prevent a dental implant from protruding into the sinus cavity—an issue that can cause infection.
Infections Caused by Bone Grafts Are Rare
There is also a chance that the bone grafting procedure could cause an infection. However, just as in the case of dental implant-induced infection, the chances of this occurring are very low. According to a recent study, published in 2016, which involved 116 patients, only 4.3 percent (5 patients) of patients suffered a sinus infection as a result of the sinus lift procedure.
Dental Implants Can Penetrate the Sinus Cavity
When not enough bone is present, a dental implant may penetrate the sinus cavity. However, this does not always result in infection or pain. For instance, it is not uncommon for dental implants to extend 1-2 millimetres into the sinus cavity. While it is preferable for an implant not to perforate the sinus cavity, such a small distance rarely leads to pain or infection.
If you are considering dental implants for missing teeth in your upper jaw, don't be put off by the possibility of infection. Even in the event that a bone graft is required, infection of the sinus cavity is a rare and treatable outcome.