Dental implants are an effective treatment option for individuals with one or more missing teeth. However, in order to be successful, implants need to have a strong base for support in the jawbone. If you have a thin or brittle jawbone, then your dentist may recommend a sinus lift before the implants can be placed.
What Is a Sinus Lift?
Also known as a maxillary sinus floor augmentation, a sinus lift is a dental surgery that aims to strengthen the upper jawbone in preparation for dental implants. It involves performing a bone graft to reinforce the upper jaw beneath the sinus cavity. During the procedure, the sinus membrane is gently lifted to create room for new bone. Once your body has integrated the grafted material, your upper jaw will be strong enough to support an implant.
Do You Need Sinus Lift?
A sinus lift may be an option when there is excessive bone loss in the upper jaw. After a tooth is lost or extracted, the jawbone will deteriorate and get weaker over time. If you have been wearing a denture or dental bridge for a long period of time or have a missing tooth that has not gone through restorative treatment, your dentist may recommend a sinus lift.
Other reasons why you may need a sinus lift include:
- Your Maxillary Sinus is Too Close: When your maxillary sinus is too close to the upper jaw, there is an increased risk of implant penetration. A sinus lift surgery helps correct this by adding to and strengthening the bone to ensure the implant can set firmly.
- Periodontal Disease: If you experience periodontal disease, you may need a sinus lift before the dental implant. Typically, this condition causes excessive bone recession in the jaws.
- Untreated Tooth Decay: Left untreated, tooth decay is likely to spread to the bone, weakening it and making it unsuitable for an implant. A sinus lift will help provide enough reinforcement before an implant is placed.
Ultimately, the only way to know if you require a sinus lift is to have your mouth thoroughly examined by a dentist or oral surgeon.
What to Expect
Before your sinus lift procedure, your oral surgeon will work with you to determine the source of the bone for the surgery. The most common types of bone used in sinus augmentation include:
- Autogenous bone: taken from your own body
- Allogeneic bone: taken from a cadaver
- Xenograft: sourced from an animal, usually a cow
- Synthetic: bone-like material
Once the source is determined, your oral surgeon will use x-rays, CBCT scans, and oral scans to evaluate the height and width of your jawbone.
During the procedure, you will receive oral or intravenous sedatives to numb the area and ensure your comfort. Small access points are made in your gums to expose the underlying jawbone. Then the surgeon will create a small opening in the bone, lift the sinus cavity, and fill the space with the bone graft material. Sutures are applied to close the access point in your gums, completing the procedure. It may take about 4-6 months for the bone graft to fuse with your jawbone.
A sinus lift can pave the way for successful dental implant placement, a renewed smile, and improved oral health. If you’re interested in dental implants or believe you could benefit from a sinus lift, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dental office. Your dentist can discuss this procedure with you in detail to determine if a sinus lift is right for you.