Can dental implants cause sinus problems?: tips and prevention

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One of the most effective and popular solutions offered by the dental world is implants. But concerns about potential sinus issues have arisen and raised questions. And many frequently asked questions are usually sinus infection possibility after dental implants. You may be asking  “Can dental implants cause sinus problems?”. But, don’t be fooled by the fact that this subject is a matter of curiosity among most patients. Because it’s very unlikely for you to actually experience sinus problems after dental implants.

But still, let us enlighten you by considering this possibility as well. Your upper jaw and sinuses are located close to each other. So, especially the implants in your upper jaw have the risk of exceeding the sinus cavity, causing problems in the sinuses. This, in turn, can lead to sinus problems after dental implants.

5 possible sinus problems that can occur after dental implants

After having your dental implants, you will be looking forward to healing as soon as possible and using your brand-new teeth. But if you notice something is wrong as time goes by, focus on the problem instead of getting too worried right away. Because you may be experiencing several different possible sinus conditions. So, if you can distinguish the differences in sinus problems after dental implants, what does it do for you? Well, this way, early diagnosis, targeted treatment, and the comfort of this treatment process will be provided. To take advantage of all this, let’s take a closer look at 5 possible sinus problems after dental implants.

Sinus infection

Maxillary implant procedures can sometimes cause a path to open between the sinus cavity and the oral cavity. This is the sinus perforation itself, which plays a role in sinus infections. In other words, sinus infection occurs when the maxillary sinus, which is located close to the upper jawbone, becomes infected. So if you’ve been wondering if can dental implants cause sinus problems, the answer is yes, it is possible. There will be some symptoms following this infection. You can experience nasal congestion, facial pain, and pressure in the sinus area. You may also be experiencing dull and persistent headaches in your forehead, and it can get worse, especially when leaning forward.

You don’t actually have to go through all these. Because with proper antibiotic treatment before and after the surgical procedure, it can help you prevent and heal the infection.

Bone density

Although quite rare, there are cases where inflammation can occur simultaneously in all paranasal sinuses. Paranasal sinuses are all the sinuses in the bones surrounding the nose and connected to the nasal passages. This is called pansinusitis. When pansinusitis progresses, your upper jaw bone can get affected and turn into osteomyelitis. This literally means your bone is infected. And the two most common causes of maxillary osteomyelitis are tooth infection and sinusitis. In short, all these conditions can lead to bone loss in the maxillary bone, affecting the bone density.

If this happens, your implant needs to be removed first. Afterwards, your oral surgeon can perform bone graft to restore bone density, making your bone a stronger foundation for the implant.

Implant’s not bonding to the jawbone

Another sinus problem that can result from loss of bone density is the implant’s having issues bonding to your jawbone. This happens when chronic sinusitis leads to upper jaw bone density loss. Remember, this bone is where your maxillary implants are located. Usually, if you don’t have sufficient bone density before procedure, your oral surgeon will take care of it before the implant procedure by performing sinus lifting or bone grafting. But, if your bone gets damaged after the implant procedure as a result of bacterial infection after the implant procedure, implant failure is a possibility. And again, you need to have a bone graft or a similar treatment that targets sufficient bone density.

Damage to surrounding tissues

While it’s nearly impossible, an oral surgeon can still accidentally damage your maxillary sinus membrane during the implantation procedure. And as in other cases, this damage will lead to sinusitis. To avoid this altogether, make sure you do enough research and choose an experienced dentist. Any damage to the membrane makes it possible for bacteria to easily go into your sinus cavity and create an infection there. The longer this problem is ignored, the more severe it will become. So, the infection might spread to neighboring places such as the nasal passages or ears, causing further tissue damage.

Antibiotics can be used to prevent or treat its spread. If that doesn’t work either, it will require surgical intervention. Another treatment method is applying synthetic tissue adhesives and tampons to the nasal wall. This will support the natural healing process.

Nerve damage

Nerve damage is another issue that is considered among sinus problems following dental implant procedures. During implant surgery, the nerves that supply sensation to the sinuses can get damaged. Especially, the infraorbital nerve. Any injury to this nerve can make you quite uncomfortable. Because this can give you things like sinus pressure, facial pain, numbness, and tingling sensation.

To prevent this, oral surgeons should be extra careful during the procedure. It ‘s again clear that choosing a skilled and experienced oral surgeon who can provide this level of care is crucial. But let’s say that somehow the damage has been done. Then what treatment methods are out there? With early treatment,  the implant is taken out and the surgical area will be cleaned. Drug therapy is also a possible treatment option. But severe cases require surgery and it will be performed by a microneurosurgeon.

What to do if you’re having problems

The first thing you should do is to consult your dentist to understand the cause of your sinus problems and get proper guidance. If your dentist has difficulty finding the source of the problem, they will send you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor. X-ray and CT scans will be done and your sinus problems after dental implants can be understood if there’s any.

After that, proper treatments will target the infection and you’ll need to take antibiotics to fix it. But the antibiotic you’ll take will depend on the type and severity of the infection. Also, it is crucial that you avoid self-medication. But it’s okay to use pain relievers, saline solutions, a neti pot, antibacterial mouthwash, or nasal corticosteroid sprays to relieve discomfort.

But these treatments unfortunately won’t work in severe cases. For example, in a more serious case, it is possible that an implant can move towards your sinus cavity. So it might be necessary to remove dental implants that enter the cavity. Another treatment is functional endoscopic sinus surgery, and the good news is it’s not an invasive procedure. It deals directly with sinus infections. Not only that, but it also helps heal infections resulting from sinus lift and bone grafting that may be needed to support maxillary sinus bone.

Home remedies that will relieve your problem

While it is important to seek professional help, there are also several home remedies that can relieve your sinus problems. The first option is to use a saline solution. By using a mixture of water and salt to clean your nasal passages, you can clean extra mucus and bacteria. You can also use a neti pot for this. These reduce inflammation and make sinus drainage easier. Another solution that can help with your mucus problem is expectorants. Also, be sure you drink lots of water since it helps to thin mucus. The last home remedy for sinus after dental implants we can suggest is applying a warm compress to the frontal area. This will totally help with sinus congestion and promote blood flow in that area.

Take these 6 precautions to avoid sinus problems

Nobody wants to deal with sinus problems following dental implants. It can really put a damper on the whole experience and take away from the excitement. So, this is the perfect moment to take charge and make sure everything goes smoothly! There are some simple steps you can take before and after the implant procedure to help prevent any sinus issues.

Check out these 6 tips to avoid potential sinus issues:

Choose a skilled dentist

It’s a fact that each dental procedure requires expertise. But when it comes to implants, especially the maxillary ones, it’ll be wise to choose an oral surgeon who has previous experience with sinus complications. By doing so, you’ll get rid of any chance of potential complications. This is because an experienced surgeon will take your sinus condition into account before performing any kind of procedure. If the position of the implant is not good, your sinus cavities can get affected. So, taking precautions accordingly is crucial. Simply put, a skilled dentist has the ability to create a successful and long-lasting dental implant for you.

Follow post-operative instructions

Oral surgeons always provide you with the necessary instructions following your implant surgery. Needless to say, you must follow these carefully to prevent any sinus issues. As long as you follow these instructions, there won’t be any questions like “Can dental implants cause sinus problems?” in your mind. Because they will create a special guideline for you, whether it’s prescribed medications or some oral hygiene tips. If you’ve dealt with sinus problems before, it’s even more important for you to follow these post-operative instructions.

Avoid blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing forcefully

Blowing your nose forcefully immediately after implant procedures can affect your sinuses since it creates excessive pressure on the surgical site. Sneezing or coughing can also cause the same issue.  Doing these can slow down your healing process and cause sinus problems.

If you need to clear your nose, try to do it as gently as possible, or consider using saline nasal sprays to keep your nasal passages moist. And after your surgery, you can use antihistamines to avoid sneezing or coughing. This kind of medication prevents allergic triggers during the crucial healing phase.

Avoid smoking

Smoking has been proven to interrupt the healing process and lead to sinus problems following dental implants. This happens because smoking will slow down your blood circulation, making it difficult for the surgical site to heal. So, you should stop smoking as soon as possible for your overall and oral health. Even if you have trouble quitting, by waiting at least 1-2 weeks to smoke after getting your implants will reduce your chances of having sinus problems.

Maintain good oral hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is a must in your normal life, even if you don’t go through any procedures. By doing this, you will also protect your dental health. So, make sure you have good oral hygiene to prevent infections that may affect the sinuses after implant surgery. For this, follow your dentist’s advice to learn proper techniques for daily brushing, mouthwash, and flossing. They will let you know which mouthwash or antiseptic solution to use.

Attend follow-up appointments

After your implant surgery, dental clinics will provide you with follow-up appointments to see how the aftermath is going. Thanks to regular check-ups, your dentist can track the healing process and spot any potential problems. With these appointments, you can also tell your dentist if you have any sinus problems. When you attend your regular checkups, you’ll achieve a beautiful smile in no time.


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