Sinus lift surgery
The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity/quality and the close proximity to the sinus. If a patient has lost bone in that area due to periodontal disease or tooth loss, they may be left without enough bone to place implants. In these cases, a procedure called sinus lift surgery may be needed to provide proper support in the jawbone for dental implants.
What does the sinus lift surgery procedure involve?
A sinus lift involves the oral surgeon increasing the amount of bone in the upper jaw by raising the sinus floor and developing bone. Typically done with sedation dentistry – in addition to local anesthetic — the procedure usually lasts between ninety minutes to two hours.
There are several techniques that may be used to raise the sinus and allow for new bone to form. In one of the more common techniques, an incision is made in the gums, exposing the jawbone. This allows the surgeon to make a small opening into the jawbone, and gently move the sinus membrane upwards. The space underneath is then filled with bone graft material. There are several kinds of materials that are available to act as bone matter. The best material is a patient’s own bones, but donor material will also work just as well.
Finally, the incision is closed and the healing process begins. Typically, the bone will be allowed to develop for about four to six months before the dental implants can be placed. After the implants are placed, an additional healing period is required. In some cases, the implants may even be able to be placed at the same time the sinus is augmented.
Sinus lift surgery has been shown to greatly increase the chances for successful implants that last for years to come.
Immediately after your surgery, you may experience swelling in the area and bleeding. You’ll probably feel uncomfortable for a few days, but most patients don’t experience major discomfort.
If any bleeding continues for more than two days, or pain and swelling get worse, you should contact your oral surgeon immediately. There is a risk of the sinuses becoming infected, but your oral surgeon will prescribe antibiotics to protect against this. You’ll also have to be careful not to sneeze or blow your nose heavily, because this can potentially move the bone graft material or dislodge your stitches.
After seven to ten days, you’ll return to your surgeon so he or she can check the progress of your healing. You’ll likely have several more visits during the healing process to ensure everything is going as planned.