As technology becomes more advanced and dental techniques are perfected through hundreds of thousands of iterations, it now is possible never to have to suffer from poor oral health. Dental implants are now the standard for replacing lost teeth, but sometimes, there is not enough bone in your upper jaw to support them. This is where sinus lift surgery is required. The following article will answer all your questions surrounding a sinus lift procedure, including, what it is, why use it and what the process entails.
What Is A Sinus Lift?
A sinus lift or sinus augmentation is a surgical process that aims at adding bone to your upper jaw where molars and premolars are located. The bone is added between your jaw and the maxillary sinuses which are found on either side of your nose. To create room for the bone, the sinus membrane has to be lifted or moved upward.
Why Use A Sinus Lift?
This surgery is conducted when the quantity of bone height found in a patient’s upper jaw is not enough to accommodate the length of a dental implant. Here are some of the instances where a sinus lift is ideal for you:
After you lose part of your bone due to gum disease
- If the bone gets damaged during tooth extraction
- If you lose a tooth. Once you lose a tooth, the jawbone reabsorbs back into the body, and there may not be enough bone left to place the implants.
- If your maxillary sinus is adjacent to the upper jaw, it may be difficult to place implants. In such a case, a sinus surgery will be used to create more bone height between your jaw and the sinus.
- If teeth are missing due to a congenital disability
How Does A Dentist Prepare For The Procedure?
Before the sinus lift procedure, your dentist will need to carry out certain diagnostic tests that include a CT scan and a dental x-ray.
- Dental x-ray – this will be used to study the anatomy of your jaw and sinus
- CT scan – is also useful in assessing the anatomy of the sinus in all three dimensions. This is the standard of care in almost all dental surgical operations today. The 3D images can also be used to simulate the surgery virtually, so that the dentist has a very clear idea of the amount of bone grafting material required as well as the dimensions of the implants to use, well before the surgery commences. This reduces the risk of potential complications drastically
What Bones Are Used For The Bone Graft As Part Of A Sinus Lift Surgery
The dentist may use the patient’s bone from another area within their mouth or other parts of the body such as the hip or shin. In other cases, a prepared bone from another human being or other species such as a cow may be used (this kind of bone is secured from a tissue bank). They may also use a synthetically derived graft material such as hydroxyapatite.
When Is It Advised Not To Have a Sinus Lift?
If you are diagnosed with a seasonal allergy, the procedure may be cancelled and postponed to when it is not active. Also when there is severe chronic sinusitis or if there is considerable thickening of the sinus lining from any cause, this treatment is not advised.
The Sinus Lift Procedure Explained
- The dentist will cut the gum tissue where the molars and premolars used to be. After making the incision, the dentist will lift up the gum tissue to expose the bone that lies underneath.
- They will then cut the exposed bone to create an opening. After opening the bone, they will be able to see the membrane that lies between your jaw and the sinus cavity.
- The dentist will gently push up the sinus membrane to place the bone graft material to stimulate bone growth in that area. The amount of graft material used varies from one person to the other but is usually several millimetres of bone.
- After that, the tissue will be closed back with stitches. You will be given anywhere between 4 to 9 months to allow the graft material to mesh.
What to Expect After the Procedure?
You may experience a little discomfort after the process, as the area where the sinus lift was performed may swell up. Slight bleeding may occur from your mouth and nose.
Your dentist may prescribe some medicine to help prevent congestion and inflammation. To reduce the risk of infection, you will be given pain medication, antibiotic and an antimicrobial mouthwash.
Saline Sprays can help keep the inner lining of the nose moist. However, you need to avoid blowing your nose or sneezing vigorously as it may loosen the stitches or cause the bone-graft material to move.
Are Follow-up Appointments Required?
A follow-up appointment will be made within ten days of the surgery to evaluate the surgical sites and remove stitches. Your dentist may request multiple return visits to make sure it is healing properly.
After a successful sinus lift, you will need to wait several months to allow the bony material to toughen and mesh with your jaw. After that, you can go ahead with the dental implant treatment.
What Risks Are Associated with The Sinus Lift Procedure?
There are very few serious complications associated with a sinus lift procedure. Some of them include;
Puncturing of the sinus membrane during surgery
This is the most common complication that occurs during the sinus lift process. Fortunately, your dentist can patch up the membrane to repair it. In case they are not able to patch it up immediately, the surgery may be halted to allow the membrane to heal before carrying out a repeat surgery.
The risk of an infection is always there in any surgery, and the sinus lift is not an exception. Even so, infections during a sinus lift are relatively rare.
Wound drainage (also known as purulent exudate) is the development of pus after the surgical procedure. This, however, is not a cause for alarm as it can be taken care of with antibiotics and irrigation techniques.
Discoloration under your eyes
After the surgery, the blood vessels may rupture due to inadequate care of the patient’s mouth. This condition is common in older women but should improve after two weeks. However, it presents no danger other than aesthetic issues.
On rare occasions, an implant may fail to hold or connect with the bone material. This condition occurs when the existing bone does not integrate with the bone graft material.
Reasons to Call Your Dentist after a Sinus Lift Surgery?
- If the pain increases or does not subside within two days after the surgery
- Development of high fever
- If sand-grain-like material comes out when you sneeze or blow your nose
- If you are still bleeding two days after the surgery
- If you have profuse bleeding from your mouth or nose
If you experience any of the signs outlined above after a sinus lift, contact your dentist immediately.
Book Your Sinus Lift Consultation Appointment Today
Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.
If you would like to schedule a sinus lift consultation at Savina Dental, please book your appointment using this form.
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Dr Joseph Xuereb
Dental & Implant Surgeon. Principal
Savina Dental Clinics