Sinus Lift for Dental Implants

Are you considering dental implants but facing the challenge of insufficient bone in your upper jaw? If so, you’re not alone. Many individuals encounter this issue, which is where a sinus lift comes into play. If you’re thinking of having dental implants but lack adequate bone in your upper jaw, you may require a sinus lift procedure. A sinus lift, scientifically referred to as sinus augmentation, is a surgical method aimed at increasing the bone volume in the upper jaw to establish a sturdy base for dental implant placement. In this post, we will delve into the details of a sinus lift procedure, its purpose, and how it can help you achieve successful dental implant placement. Let’s explore the world of sinus lifts and understand how they contribute to a strong and functional smile. A sinus lift is a procedure that adds bone to the gap between your molars and premolars, increasing the amount of bone in the upper jaw. Your dentist will suggest a sinus lift surgery as an alternative treatment approach if you want dental implants but don’t have enough jawbone density to support the implant. After a sinus lift, you must call your doctor if you’re experiencing worsening bleeding, swelling, or pain after two to three days.

What is a Sinus Lift?

A sinus lift (also called sinus graft or sinus augmentation) is a bone grafting oral procedure done on the upper jaw. A sinus lift procedure aids in enhancing the bone density within the space between the maxillary sinuses and the jaw, making installation of dental implants easier. Positioned behind the cheekbones and above the upper teeth, the maxillary sinuses are hollow cavities. It is common for the upper rear molars to have roots extending into these sinuses. Following tooth loss or extraction, minimal supporting jawbone remains. Sinus lifts are typically conducted by specialized dental professionals, including periodontists or oral maxillofacial surgeons.

Is a Sinus Lift Required to Place Dental Implants?

Prior to getting dental implants, a sinus lift is frequently performed on patients whose upper jawbones are too thin. This is due to the possibility of the dental implant failing because of insufficient bone density to support the implant. Below are the common reasons why a sinus lift is required before getting dental implants.
  • Narrow jawbone
  • Close proximity of sinuses to the jaw
  • Insufficient upper jawbone height
  • Large sinus cavities
  • Close proximity of neighboring teeth roots
 

How is a Sinus Lift Surgery Done?

There are numerous methods for performing sinus lift surgery. The best course of action for you may depend on the amount of bone you presently have in your jaw, the type of bone graft the dentist is utilizing, and the prospective plan for dental implant placement at a later date. Here is a general overview of what happens during a sinus lift procedure.
  1. The surgeon will use a local anesthetic to numb the area to make you comfortable throughout the surgery.
  2. The surgeon will locate the back of your gum tissue and make incisions to expose the bone.
  3. The surgeon will only cut a small portion of the bone avoiding the sinus membranes.
  4. The surgeon will raise the sliced part of the bone up into the sinus cavity space lifting the sinus membrane.
  5. The surgeon will apply bone graft materials to fill the hole.
  6. The surgeon will close the incisions by using sutures.
 

When Can You Get Dental Implants After Sinus Lift Surgery?

It can take 4 to 12 months for a sinus lift patient to fully recover according to the American Academy of Periodontology. This timeframe is critical for the sinuses to undergo healing and for the new bone to seamlessly integrate with your existing bone, ultimately providing enhanced stability for dental implants. A tooth implant can then be inserted and the course of treatment can continue once the sinuses have fully recovered. Although the healing time after a sinus lift typically takes a long time, a sinus lift for dental implants is essential for implant placement to be a success. This is especially true for patients who have narrow jawbones, large sinus cavities, or insufficient upper jawbone height.  

What are the Sinus Lift Complications?

While sinus lifts are generally considered safe, problems are always a possibility. Complications related to sinus lift surgery can arise either during the procedure itself, in the postoperative period, or, on occasion, during the recovery phase. Below are the most common sinus lift complications.

Puncturing or Tearing a Sinus Membrane

Puncturing or tearing a sinus membrane is by far, the most common sinus lift complication. The punctured sinus membrane can be repaired by your surgeon through stitching. Your surgeon will stop the surgery if stitching is not possible and wait for your sinus membrane to heal before redoing your surgery.

Infection

The danger of infection exists with all surgeries. After a sinus lift, a sinus infection is possible but extremely uncommon. Usually, an infection develops as a result of improper postoperative care or sanitary problems during the procedure.

Acute Maxillary Sinusitis

Acute maxillary sinusitis is marked by facial pain that is exacerbated while bending over or straining, localized to the cheek but also in the frontal region or the teeth. Both unilateral and bilateral discomfort are possible, and the sinus may become sore. Antibiotics should be given for at least two weeks together with a glucocorticoid, decongestant, and analgesic for the treatment of maxillary sinusitis. Cryotherapy can also be applied as necessary.

Graft Failure

Although rare, a sinus graft can fail. Your grafted bone can very rarely be unable to bond with the bone substance. Your dentist will allow you to heal before redoing another sinus lift surgery.  

When to Consult the Doctor After a Sinus Lift?

Call your dentist immediately if you experience worsening pain or persisting bleeding after two to three days following your sinus lift surgery. Feeling a sensation that the sinus graft has moved out of place may also be a sign that the sinus graft may fail. This can happen after vigorous sneezing; thus, you must consult with a doctor. In case you have a fever, pus discharge from the surgical site, or inflammation, these may be symptoms of an infection. You should visit a dentist as soon as possible.  

Dr. Rohan Toor at Rohan Toor Dental Care has over 5 years of experience in dental implant surgery since 2017. Make an appointment with Dr. Rohan Toor to know more about sinus lift for dental implants.
 

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