What is a sinus lift?
Dental implants are the most effective option for replacing missing teeth, but what if you don’t have enough bone to support them? If your jawbone is too thin or too soft, you may need to have a bone graft before we can go ahead with the procedure. When the upper jawbone is too thin because of an enlarged sinus, we may need to perform a sinus lift in order to be able to replace missing premolars and molars with implants. A sinus lift procedure will add bone between your thin upper jaw and the maxillary sinuses, which are found on each side of the nose. The procedure gets its name from the fact that we must lift the sinus membrane to make enough room to insert the bone. More patients have opted for dental implants in the last 20 years, so we’ve seen an increase in sinus lifts as well.
DO I REALLY NEED A SINUS LIFT?
The quick answer is maybe not! By taking the time to digitally evaluate and plan all of our implant surgeries, we often can offer patients implants without sinus lifts. This is particularly true for our integrated4 Solution, and you can find out more about it here. If you would like a second opinion to see if a sinus lift is absolutely necessary, please contact our office or fill out the Appointment Request Form and a member of our team will be in contact with you to get started!
PREPARING FOR SURGERY
Before the surgery, we’ll take a 3D x-ray, digital scan, and digital photographs to gain a thorough understanding of the way your jaw and sinuses are structured to best evaluate if a sinus lift is needed and how to approach it.
THE SURGICAL PROCEDURE
The first step is for our periodontist to make an incision in the gum at the back of the mouth, then lift the tissue so he can see the bone. He will then make an opening in the bone, on the other side of which is a membrane that separates the sinus from the jaw. The periodontist surgical specialist will then gently push this membrane upward and away from the jaw.
The next step is to put granules of bone-graft material in the area covered by the sinus. This involves slowly inserting a small amount of bone into the space above the jaw, then stitching the gum shut.
This grafting material needs between six to nine months to solidify and bond with your jawbone, so we’ll need to wait at least that long before placing the implants. The amount and type of grafting material employed can change this waiting period.
THE RECOVERY PERIOD
Following the procedure, patients can suffer swelling, bruising, discomfort, and/or bloody noses. This is normal and temporary. Don’t sneeze hard, and avoid blowing your nose, or else the stitches can loosen and the grafting material can move.
We will give you some pain medication, along with antibiotics and an antimicrobial mouthwash to help guard against infection. We may also prescribe medications or saline sprays that prevent congestion and inflammation.
We may summon you back to the office within one to two weeks after the surgery so we can examine the surgical area and remove any undissolved stitches. To make sure the gums are healing properly, we may need to call you back in more than once.