The long-term success of dental implants depends on the health and density of the jawbone. That’s why individuals with bone loss are often told they don’t qualify for implant surgery. However, a sinus lift can be performed to increase eligibility for dental implants in the upper jaw. Also referred to a sinus augmentation, this procedure is necessary when tooth loss has led to the expansion of the maxillary sinus cavities. This is due to missing upper molars – and the problem can progress as patients grow older. |
What is a sinus lift?
To perform a sinus lift, an oral surgeon or periodontist makes an incision in the gums near the upper molar area. Once the jawbone is accessed, a small hinged window is created in the upper jaw to visualize the sinus membrane. The thin membrane is then raised to its proper location using special dental instruments. Next, a bone grafting material is packed into the space underneath. This supports the maxillary sinus and also creates a firm foundation for you future dental implants. After the bone is placed, your surgeon will likely cover it with a special membrane to promote healing. Finally, the gum tissue is repositioned and sutured into place.
In many cases, surgeons offer sedation options, such as nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, or IV (intravenous) sedation. This helps calm the nerves and keep patients comfortable during treatment.
Where does the bone come from?
In years past, doctors obtained bone material from the hip or tibia. Thankfully this is no longer necessary. Today, bone grafting material is either autogenous (taken from another area of the patient’s jaw) or non-autogenous (taken from another human or animal). In most cases, surgeons purchase non-autogenous grafts from a licensed bone and tissue bank. This eliminates the need for two surgical sites. Strict regulations are required when purchasing bone from a tissue bank. The bone tissue is heated and sterilized to such a great degree that there is nothing living in it anymore; it simply serves as a scaffold to encourage your own bone growth. Common sources for bone material are human cadavers, porcine (pig), or bovine (cow). Talk to your doctor about bone grafting options so you can know what to expect from each one.
How long does recovery take?
Once the sinus has been lifted and the bone graft has been placed, most patients can resume normal activity within a few days. However, approximately four to 12 months is needed for total recovery. During this time, the bone becomes stronger, serving as an adequate foundation for your new dental implants. Although recovery time for a sinus lift is longer than other types of bone grafts, most individuals who undergo the procedure agree that it is well worth the wait to achieve the smile they desire.
How do I know if I need a sinus lift?
If you are considering dental implants, your dentist will first take x-rays to assess jawbone health. If the maxillary sinuses have dropped down, or if the bone tissue in that area looks too thin, then he or she may recommend a sinus lift. Advanced imaging technology allows doctors to determine exactly how much space is available for dental implants. If your bone levels are questionable, your dentist can talk with you about your treatment options.
Contact a Colleyville Oral Surgeon Today
Want to learn more about sinus lifting for dental implants. Contact Dr. Chris Tye at Texas Oral Surgery Specialists in Colleyville. He can help you take your first step toward a healthier smile.
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