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Hi Dr. Hall,
First, thank you for taking the time to answer questions. 🙂
My question is about the impact of a sinus perforation, removal of an implant, and antibiotics. I just had a dental implant (tooth #2) removed last Wednesday, six months after it was placed, he suspected bone loss and the gum was not filling in correctly. Also, when he placed the implant it punctured the sinus by a few mm.
After the removal, the OS said there was no infection and it was very easy to remove because it did not integrate at all, and there was no need to give me intravenous antibiotics during the process (I was sedated). He put me on sinus precaution of Flonase, no blowing nose, and no sneezing with mouth closed. He said he did not repair the perforation in my sinus, he just cleaned the area and stitched the gums. He said it would heal on its own and we should wait a year to see if the hole fills up with sinus tissue or bone and start again from there.
The following week I had continual congestion, especially at night, even though I was using the Flonase. I also had odd crackling in my ear when I moved my jaw (not jaw popping and no pain- just crackling like a blown speaker) I went back to him five days later and he said everything looked great. I did not agree and I requested antibiotics because I felt like it was getting infected. He reluctantly complied and since then my congestion has cleared significantly and air no longer escapes through the site. My question is, was it detrimental to not have been given antibiotics from the beginning and how do you know the sinus has healed correctly and the bone is not compromised with a lingering infection and congestion in the first week?
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!
– Kelly M.
First, answering your question directly, there is no harm in not starting the antibiotics right away. The indiscriminate prescribing of antibiotics, “just in case you have an infection,” is leading to a serious public health problem by helping cultivate antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Then, when you really need the antibiotic, it doesn’t work. So I like the idea that your surgeon waited to see signs of infection before prescribing the antibiotic. And Flonase seems a good choice also.
But there is another, more significant issue that you bring up that I want to address, and that is the failure of this dental implant. The implant perforated the sinus by a few millimeters??? That’s kind of a biggie. A few millimeters in dentistry is a lot. And the implant didn’t integrate with the bone at all. That’s another biggie. I hope your dentist has a good explanation for these two kind of serious errors.
To be clear here, the idea of the implant perforating the sinus is an issue with oral surgeons, with many maintaining that it isn’t a big deal. Others say that it is an indication of sloppy surgery that just increases the risk of implant failure. Many surgeons will say that they have perforated the sinus many times with implant placement and the site heals and everything is fine. But others will point to cases where this has allowed infection to get in around the implant from the sinus cavity. And then they also point to the issue of how much bone support the implant has. For however much the implant pokes into the sinus, that is that much less bone that is supporting the implant. I believe almost all surgeons will agree that while they may be able to get away with an implant sticking into the sinus one or two millimeters, “a few millimeters” is too far.
I don’t know what prompted the removal of the implant, but you’re lucky that this happened just six months from its placement, hopefully before anything was attached to the implant. Others who have had a sinus perforation from a dental implant haven’t been so fortunate. They have had persistent nasal problems for years after the implant restoration, only resolved by removal of the dental appliance that was attached to the implant and then possible bone grafting to repair the defect created followed by re-doing the implant surgery,
The standard of care for implant surgery requires the dentist to take whatever x-rays are necessary—preferably three-dimensional ones—to insure that there is enough bone present to stabilize the implant. So my question is, what is your surgeon going to do to insure that this doesn’t happen again? In other words, if your implant ended up so far into your sinus, there’s not enough bone there to support the implant. That would call for some bone grafting. In the area of the sinus, this is usually done in what is called a sinus lift procedure. Has your dentist suggested that?
I want to be careful here, because I have an incomplete picture of what is going on with you. But just from what you have told me, if I were getting an implant and my surgeon, in placing the implant, punctured my sinus and there was no osseointegration of the implant with the bone, I wouldn’t want this surgeon doing any more work on me. For you, as a minimum, I would get some answers about this, and maybe a second opinion.
– Dr. Hall
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