For some people, replacing a missing tooth isn’t as easy as just getting dental implants.
For instance, if you suffer from osteoporosis, you may not have enough bone mass in your upper jaw bone to accept full dental implants. Fortunately, a sinus lift surgery can give your upper jaw the support it needs to accept a new artificial tooth.
A sinus lift surgery increases the density of your upper jaw by adding a bone graft to your sinus floor. This creates more structural material for an implant, allowing your oral surgeon to then add a dental implant and replace your missing teeth.
Continue reading to familiarize yourself with sinus augmentation surgery, the materials we use to complete a sinus lift procedure, how it can benefit your future dental implants, and some of the possible outcomes of your surgery.
Additionally, if you want more advice, you can contact our surgeons at Fairfield Oral Surgery for more information.
What Is A Sinus Lift?
Also known as sinus augmentation surgery, sinus lift surgery is the process of adding more bone mass to the upper jaw by attaching a bone graft to the sinus floor. This lets surgeons then insert dental implants in the mouth of a patient who otherwise would not have enough bone support due to bone loss.
Why Is It Called a Sinus “Lift”?
For a surgeon to complete the bone graft, they must first reposition your sinus membrane further up into your head. It’s from this repositioning that the name sinus “lift” first came into use. Even if you hear your surgeon call it a sinus lift or sinus augmentation procedure, it means the same thing.
When Would You Need A Sinus Lift?
Dentists and oral surgeons recommend sinus lift surgery for more than just patients with osteoporosis. It could just be that you naturally don’t have the bone height in your mouth to accept a dental implant, or your sinuses are positioned lower to your upper jaw bone.
Most of the time, your dentist will recommend a sinus augmentation if:
- You have lost upper teeth
- You suffer from osteoporosis
- You have periodontal gum disease
- Your surgeon suspects that you will struggle to reabsorb bone after an implant surgery
Your dentist or surgeon will talk to you beforehand and explain why they think you should first undergo a sinus lift. This is an invasive oral surgery, so understand that they will have their reasons for suggesting it.
Where Does Bone Graft Material Come From?
Sinus augmentations mean getting a bone graft, i.e., real bone, not a titanium plate. The bone graft material your surgeon uses will likely come from one of these three sources:
- Allogeneic bones – A bone sample retrieved from a donated cadaver
- Autogenous bones – A bone sample retrieved from another place in your body
- Xenograft bones – A bone sample retrieved from another animal, such as a cow
If your surgeon decides to use an autogenous bone sample, they will likely take it from another region of your mouth.
The Process Of A Sinus Lift Surgery
After receiving x-rays to access your upper jaw and sinuses, your dentist will then schedule surgery with a trained doctor. Your sinus lift surgery will take place over the course of 90 to 120 minutes. Your surgeons will:
- Begin by cutting your gum tissue
- Lifting the tissue to expose your jaw bone
- Carve small circular holes into the bone
- Raise the bone graft into your sinuses to fill the holes
- Suture the incision
After closing the incisions, your surgery is complete and you will be moved to a recovery room where you can rest until the general anesthetic wears off.
Outcomes Of A Sinus Lift Surgery
Before surgery, your doctor will discuss some of the risks related to a sinus lift surgery. Overall, it is a very safe procedure but, at worst, your sinus membrane may tear. If it does, your surgeon will stitch it back together or patch the wound. Additionally, if the graft does not take, it can impede blood supply to the area and you’ll need a second surgery.
If everything goes well, you will still experience some pain and discomfort in your upper mouth and sinuses. You may also experience slight swelling and bleeding in the first few days after the augmentation. Your doctor will give you a decongestant, some saline spray, and a prescription for pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection.
When Can You Get Implants?
After four to twelve months, the bone graft should have healed enough that you can then receive dental implants. This gives enough time for the surgery to heal and for the bone to merge with your upper jaw. For larger grafts, you may need more time.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to get a missing tooth replaced because of a bone loss, rest easy knowing that the oral surgeons at Fairfield Oral Surgery are trained and experienced with sinus augmentations.
We can safely and quickly insert a bone graft and get you on the path to a new dental implant, such as a mini dental implant. Call or book an appointment online today.