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Sinus Lift Surgery- What You Need to Know

June 17, 2022

Dental implants are one of the most trusted and effective ways to restore missing teeth.

However, it may require some additional procedures for the treatment to be effective.

A sinus lift procedure can in some cases certainly be an important step on the journey towards a full and healthy smile.

This fairly common procedure ensures that one can enjoy the full benefits of dental implants, even after a substantial bone loss.

Sinus Augmentation or Sinus Graft is a treatment approach that may be recommended when one decides to get dental implants but lacks sufficient jaw bone to support the implant.

The procedure is usually performed by medical specialists like periodontists or oral surgeons.

Various techniques are used by dental specialists when performing a sinus lift procedure.

This procedure helps to increase the amount of bone required for dental implants in the upper jaw.

One of the most common bone grafting procedures for dental implant patients,  sinus augmentations are one of the several procedures done during a full mouth reconstruction.

Why is the Sinus Lift Procedure Performed?

The augmentation or lifting up of the maxillary sinus to make more space for new bone is known as the Sinus lift.

The air-filled cavities that are located just above the back portion of the maxilla (upper jaw) are known as Maxillary Sinuses.

Lifting the sinus and grafting bone in between, helps the doctor to create more bone to place a dental implant.

For those who lack enough upper jaw bone, the implant is unable to properly anchor, and may not be able to perform more demanding tasks, like chewing.

Moreover, the lack of sufficient bone can lead to the dental implant not being properly secure and failure. 

The bone loss in the jaw bone can happen due to many reasons including:

  • Birth defects
  • Cancer
  • Natural variation due to sinus cavities that are very large or jawbone that is very thin
  • Periodontal disease or gum disease 

However, the lack of the use of the bone due to tooth loss can also make the bone thinner over time.

A sinus lift surgery is recommended if the bone height of less than 4 to 6 millimeters in the back portion of the jaw is determined by the doctor.

What Happens Before a Sinus Augmentation Procedure?

The dental implant procedure can sometimes become a process that involves many steps.

Sinus lift and bone grafting are the procedures that are done earlier in the process before placing the dental implant.

The usual preparation of the dental implant procedure includes: 

1. The discussion between the doctor and the patient to establish the desired goals of the dental implants.

2. Through examination of the teeth, mouth, and gums by the dentist 

3. Imaging studies, such as X-rays or a computed tomography scan are done to determine jawbone health and other main structures in the skull.

4. A sinus lift surgery, if necessary, to help secure the implant

5. The screw or the dental implant holder on which the implant will be later secured, known as an abutment is placed by the doctor.

6. The dental implant is inserted by the doctor.

The time is taken by each process usually depends upon the overall oral health of the person.

Sinus lift surgery has many different approaches. However, the method best suited for the patient depends on the amount of bone naturally present in the jaw, the type of bone graft that is to be provided, and the method for dental implant placement later.

Basically a bone transplant, the sinus lift surgery is usually performed using a bone from other areas of the mouth or body and using it in the upper jaw.

Determining where the bone to be used in the surgery will come from is the first step of the surgery. 

After establishing the bone source, the dental specialist takes great care to study the anatomy of the jaw and sinus.

Accurate measurements are taken to assess the height and width of the existing bone and to evaluate the sinus. Once the bone to be used has been chosen, the procedure can start.

At Kirkland Premier Dentistry, we go the extra mile to etch beautiful smiles through years of experience and the latest methods of Dental surgery. 

What Happens During the Sinus Augmentation Procedure?

A safe and straightforward procedure, sinus augmentation is normally performed at the oral surgeon’s office and takes anywhere between 1-2 hours.

The basic procedure of a sinus lift surgery includes the following:

  • Oral or intravenous sedatives are given by the dentist to keep the patient comfortable during the procedure.
  • The site is identified by the surgeon and incisions are made in the posterior region of the gum tissue to expose the bone.
  • A small part of the bone is also cut by the surgeon while taking care to avoid sinus membranes. 
  • The cut portion of the bone is lifted into the sinus cavity by raising the membrane and the hole is filled with the previously determined bone graft.
  • Finally, the surgeon closes the incisions in the gums with sutures.

The instructions to guide the patient through the recovery are given by the dentist.

Recovery

Patients can go home after they wake from anesthesia. A little swelling and bleeding are experienced by most patients after the sinus augmentation surgery.

However, the discomfort is minimal and usually subsides in a few days and one can return to the regular activities as directed by the dentist. 

The perforation of the Schneiderian membrane lining the maxillary sinus cavity is the most complicated concern after the sinus lift procedure as it can increase the risk for chronic sinusitis and infections.

However, if everything goes well as is the case in most the sinus lift procedures, the patients are instructed to

  • Avoid blowing the nose (or sneezing, if possible) as these may cause the bone-graft material to move and loosen the stitches.
  • Avoid Brushing the teeth for some time to prevent the dislodging of any clots or bleeding.
  • Refrain from using a straw for drinking as it can dislodge the blood clots that prevent bleeding.
  • Take antibiotics, if prescribed by the doctor to avoid infection.
  • Refrain from Smoking as harmful chemicals present in tobacco can impair the healing time.

The patient is usually asked to return to the doctor after a week of the procedure.

However, one must call the doctor immediately on experiencing any pain or bleeding that is difficult to control or there is a sensation that the bone graft materials have moved out of place after vigorous sneezing or blowing the nose. 

Any signs of infection such as swelling, fever, or foul-smelling drainage from the surgical area are also a signal for immediate medical attention.

The jawbone requires anywhere between 4 to 12 months to heal from sinus lift procedures before one can have dental implants.

However, sometimes the dentists may place dental implants immediately after the sinus lift surgery.

The Bottom Line

Sinus lift surgery is an outpatient procedure that helps build a stronger anchor of bone for a dental implant, to ensure the success of the Dental Implants.

Your jawbone and oral health should be carefully determined before the implant procedure by a competent doctor like Dr. Gaurav Sharma at Kirkland Premier Dentistry who can explain the sinus lift suggestions, methods, and potential bone grafting materials that may be used.

Though sinus lift surgery might appear to be a complicated process, its benefits are completely worth it.

The prerequisite of successful dental implants is a supportive base and for some patients, the only way to attain this adequate support system is through a sinus augmentation procedure

Dr. Gaurav Sharma who has reshaped many smiles explains that this relatively new, but extremely effective surgery is an answer for the patients without any other means to support their dental implants.

The sinus augmentation can make it possible for you to enjoy all the benefits of natural, strong, and beautiful teeth. 

Our very proficient staff at Kirkland Premier Dentistry ensures that the procedure is made totally comfortable and smooth for you.

For more information on a sinus lift and dental implants give us a call today.

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