Dental Implants – A Refresher
Dental implants are titanium or ceramic screws used to replace the roots in our mouth. When we suffer tooth loss, we must not only replace the tooth, but many times we must also replace the actual root.
Teeth rise from roots. They grow from actual roots in our mouth. Dental implants are often a viable way to replace teeth that we’ve lost instead of getting dentures. Dental implants provide many more benefits than dentures. Check out some of the benefits of dental implants as opposed to dentures:
- Improved appearance– Dental implants are integrated with your own bone, which is why you can get permanent, natural, and a great looking set of teeth.
- Improved speech– If you’re already using a removable denture, you might have run into difficulty speaking. This is because dentures are not permanently attached to your mouth. Dentures tend to move and slip inside your mouth, causing you to mumble or slur your words. With dental implants, you mustn’t worry about denture slippage. Implants are inserted into your actual jawbone.
- Improved comfort– Dentures can be uncomfortable. Dental implants take away this discomfort due to the jawbone fusion aspect.
- Improved chewing– Removable dentures can make it difficult to chew. With permanently attached teeth, you can enjoy food again because chewing and mastication becomes easy and natural.
- Improved self-esteem– Dental implants create a natural looking smile. This helps patients improve their self-esteem.
- Improved oral health– Dental implants act as actual teeth. Your overall oral health improves because you become more motivated to take care of your new set of teeth.
If you’d like more information on dental implants, check out our page.
Why Are Sinus Lift Procedures Sometimes Required?
The key for successful dental implants is the quality and quantity of the bone where the implant is to be placed. Without enough strong bone, dental surgeons can’t perform dental implants.
Think of the bone in your jaw as the base for your teeth. It’s the soil from where roots are formed. Then, from the roots spring your teeth. Dental implants are just like real teeth, which is why they require soil, bone, and roots before the actual tooth or in the case of dental implants, the crown, can be placed on the screw.
Sometimes, the bone in our jaw is either lacking in strength, or enough of it isn’t present. Often, this happens in the upper back jaw. The upper back jaw is close to the sinus. When we’ve lost bone quality due to periodontal disease or tooth loss in the upper back jaw, we’re often left without enough bone for dental implants.
Before a dental implant procedure can be performed, dental surgeons must sometimes lift the sinus. Sinus lift procedures help prepare the mouth for dental implant procedures.
Reasons why a sinus lift procedure might be required:
- Many people who have lost teeth in their upper jaw — particularly the back teeth, or molars — do not have enough bone for implants to be placed. Because of the anatomy of the skull, the back of the upper jaw has less bone than the lower jaw.
- Bone may have been lost because of periodontal (gum) disease.
- Tooth loss may have led to a loss of bone as well. Once teeth are gone, bone begins to be resorbed (absorbed back into the body). If teeth have been missing for a long time, there often is not enough bone left to place implants.
- The maxillary sinus may be too close to the upper jaw for implants to be placed. The shape and the size of this sinus varies from person to person. The sinus can also get larger as you age.
What Are Sinus Lift Procedures?
Your sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in your skull. They are separated from your bone by a membrane lining.
Sinus lift procedures can help correct the lack of bone in the upper back jaw problem. The procedure requires lifting the sinus floor. Once this happens, bone is placed. The bone then develops for the placement of dental implants.
Where does the bone come from?
Bone used in sinus lift procedures is usually one of the following:
- Autogenous bone – bone from your own body
- Allogenic bone – bone from a cadaver
- Xenograft – cow bone
In the case of bone from your own body, surgeons prefer to use bone inside your mouth. However, they might also use bone from your hip or the bone beneath your knee, the tibia bone.
Sinus Lift Procedure Process
There are two types of sinus lift procedures, direct sinus lift and indirect sinus lift. The procedure listed here is for a direct sinus lift, or lateral window technique. Sinus lift procedures go through the following steps:
Step 1 – Your dentist will take x-rays of your upper jaw as well as your sinus. You should try to make sure your sinus is clear, meaning take the x-rays when you’re not suffering from allergies.
Step 2 – The surgeon makes an incision where your back teeth used to be.
Step 3 – Tissue is raised to expose the bone.
Step 4 – The surgeon creates a small, oval, window in the bone.
Step 5 – The membrane lining on the other side of the window separates your sinus from your jaw. The surgeon gently pushes the membrane up, lifts the membrane away from your bone. This creates a space.
Step 6 – The surgeon then packs the granules of bone into the created space. Often several millimeters of bone must be added to where the sinus used to rest.
Step 7 – After placing the bone, the tissue is closed with stitches.
The placed bone must graft with your existing bone. The grafting process can take from 4 to 9 months. Sometimes the grafting process can take up to 12 months.
Why U.S. Citizens Should Consider Costa Rica for Their Sinus Lift Procedure
The first reason to get your sinus lift procedure in Costa Rica is cost. Both indirect and direct sinus lift procedures performed in Costa Rica cost significantly less than if they’re performed in the United States:
- Indirect sinus lift: U.S. $2,410, Costa Rica $775
- Direct sinus lift: U.S. $5,120, Costa Rica $1,650
Not only are sinus lift procedures much cheaper if performed in Costa Rica, but Costa Rican dental clinics can also provide dental implant procedures. That means, a consultation with a Costa Rican dentist can lead to massive cost savings throughout the entire dental implant process.
It’s also important to understand that most dental insurances in the United States pay up to a specific amount. Patients don’t pay a deductible. Instead, the insurance pays up to a specific amount and then the dental patient must pay out of pocket. This can lead to more out of pocket costs as the procedures get more invasive, like sinus lifts and dental implants.
How Care Overseas Can Help
At Care Overseas, our goal is to provide North American dental patients an end to end solution. We walk them through the entire process from finding a reputable dental clinic in Costa Rica, to scheduling their dental procedures, and to even finding a place to stay while their procedures are performed.