If you’ve lost an upper tooth, and need a dental implant but do not have adequate bone in the upper jaw, you may be a candidate for a sinus lift procedure. Sounds complicated? Well, it really isn’t as complicated as you think. When you lose several teeth due to decay or an accident, your jawbone tends to resorb. This is because your body perceives that the bone is no longer needed and begins to “shrink” in one direction while your sinus can expand in the other.
In the upper jaw, the sinus is unique and tends to expand with aging. This sinus is a cavity in the maxillary region that takes over the space previously occupied by your jawbone. A sinus lift is a procedure that replaces the missing bone, lifting the sinus membrane into position, and creating a strong foundation for dental implants.
The question your dentist and surgeon will ask is: Are you a candidate for a sinus lift procedure? It’s simple…You need a sinus lift procedure if:
- You are missing a significant amount of bone in the back of your jaw (less than 3-4m)
- You are missing teeth due to a birth defect or condition
- You are missing most of your maxillary teeth, but require support for dental implants
A sinus lift takes place four to six months before the dental implant procedure. This allows the jawbone to fully heal and also increases the success of long-lasting implants. During the surgery, your dental surgeon will make an incision in the gums, exposing the bone underneath. The surgeon will make an opening in the jawbone and gently push the sinus membrane upward (hence the name of the procedure). The grafting material is then packed into the space.
The graft can be composed of your own bone, bone from a cadaver or animal, or synthetic bone. I prefer to use L-PRF as a bone substitute as this creates superior bone quality and quantity in the site. When the graft is complete, the tissue is sutured back together and healing begins. While you may have some general discomfort after the sinus lift procedure, this should slowly decrease. You will likely have several follow up appointments to ensure that the graft is ossifying with the bone. Once the jawbone is healed, you can schedule a dental implant.
As dental implants have become the tooth replacement of choice, so have sinus lift procedures. If you have had teeth removed from your upper jaw, you may be a good candidate for a sinus lift procedure. In order to ensure that you are the right candidate for a sinus lift procedure, your dental surgeon will schedule X-rays and CT scans to determine the makeup of your jawbone, bone mass, and density.
Even if you do not have missing teeth, periodontal disease may cause bone loss and if this is the case, you may be a candidate for a sinus lift procedure. Your oral surgeon or dentist will check for jawbone strength if you have periodontal disease, and may recommend a sinus lift procedure based on this testing. Your surgeon or dentist will also check for jawbone strength before beginning the dental implant process.
At Harbour Pointe Oral Surgery & Advanced Dental Implant Center, we specialize in the sinus lift procedure. We treat each patient holistically and ensure that we recommend a sinus lift procedure only if it is right for you.
We take a detailed history and conduct a detailed examination, including X-rays and scans and only then perform the sinus lift procedure, if necessary. So,consider this option even if you have been told there is not space for implants to replace your missing teeth.