The conventional surgical procedure for placement of a dental implant requires a horizontal and usually two vertical incisions in the gum. The gum is then peeled back off the bone. After preparation of the bone, the implant is placed and the gum is either sutured back together over a two-step implant or sutured around the one-step implant. Elevating this flap of gum is responsible for most of the pain and all of the swelling after implant placement.
Minimally invasive implant placement differs widely from the conventional procedure in that no flaps or sutures are used during implant placement. Instead, a small circle of gum is removed with an instrument resembling a tiny cookie-cutter allowing for placement of the dental implant without the need for a flap. This procedure was devised at LITI 7 years ago specifically to be used with The Straumman one-step implant. The combination of the implant and the minimally invasive technique has shown to dramatically reduce or eliminate the post-operative pain, swelling and bruising oft-times associated with dental implant placement.
Sinus lift (bone grafting)
In some individuals there is inadequate bone in the upper molar region for dental implant placement. This inadequacy can be corrected by a grafting procedure called a “ sinus lift ” or sinus elevation procedure.
Conventional sinus lift
The conventional sinus lift requires the elevation of a large gum flap in order to expose the bone on the side of the upper jaw. A window is then made and pushed inward to allow the addition of bone to the top half of the implant. Next, bone is added to the pocket and around the top of the implant. After addition of the bone, the gum flap is then sewn back in place. Again, it is the gum flap which causes the pain, swelling and bruising associated with the sinus lift, not the grafting itself. In addition, patients undergoing this procedure must not create pressure within the sinus post operatively for approximately one month. It is therefore imperative that patients refrain from blowing their nose and must sneeze with their mouths open for about one month after this type of surgery in order to avoid damage to the graft.
The Minimally Invasive Sinus Lift
The minimally invasive sinus lift procedure differs widely from the conventional procedure. After removal of a small circle of gum tissue the preparation for the implant is made. The bone is then injected from below. After the graft is injected, the implant is simply screwed into place. Swelling, bruising or pain is not anticipated since there are no sutures or flaps involved in this minimally invasive technique. Equally important is that sneezing and blowing of the nose is not an issue when this minimally invasive procedure is employed.