You decided to get dental implants to replace some teeth in your upper jaw, but then our Carmichael dentist informed you that you don’t have enough bone to do the procedure. In this case, sinus lift surgery is necessary.
What is Sinus Lift Surgery?
A sinus lift is a special type of bone graft performed in the upper jaw. Instead of adding height to the upper jaw (or maxilla), by adding bone on the tooth side, a sinus lift grafts bone underneath the teeth on the maxilla. Above the maxilla are the two maxillary sinuses. These are the largest sinuses in the skull, and to safely install implants in the maxilla, there needs to be enough jawbone so the implant does not go all the way through and penetrate the sinus above it! This is where sinus lift surgery comes in.
When our dentist examines the x-rays before a dental implant procedure, he or she first determines if you have enough bone for an implant screw. This follows the “measure twice, cut once” principle. Puncturing the sinus through the maxilla can lead to serious complications. Therefore, careful measurements are necessary and it is in the patient’s best interest to perform a sinus lift when more bone is needed to avoid penetration. The surgery may be necessary due to bone loss, but some people are simply born with only a relatively thin layer of bone between their maxilla and sinus.
In effect, the sinus lift adds bone to the top of the maxilla, making a bump that goes up into the sinus. Since the sinus is so large, there is plenty of space for the extra bone. The implant is then screwed into this grafted bone, giving it a secure foundation while preventing the sinus from being punctured by an implant.
How to Do a Sinus Lift Surgery
To start the procedure, the dentist cuts through the gum tissue and exposes the maxilla. A small hole through the maxilla is opened up, exposing the membrane that lines the sinus. This membrane separates the jawbone from the cavity above it, and it must be treated cautiously. If it is punctured, it must first be repaired, allowed to heal, and the procedure restarted a few months later.
After revealing the sinus membrane, the dentist carefully pushes it upwards into the sinus, putting graft material in the space created. (You can read more about your bone graft options on that page of our website.) The wound is then sealed and the bone graft is allowed to become firm. Four to nine months later, the graft is ready to accept a dental implant.
If you need sinus lift surgery, contact the Marconi Dental Group for help. Our trained specialists in implant dentistry are ready to consult with and assist you to get back the smile and functionality that come from permanent teeth!