What Is a Sinus Lift and Do You Need One?

A sinus lift can help restore lost bone in your upper jaw, making dental implants possible and preventing sinus expansion and further bone loss.

Sinus Lift

If you’ve lost teeth in your upper jaw you’d like to replace, you may have to start with a sinus lift procedure.

The Purpose of a Sinus Lift

When teeth are knocked out in an accident, or they fall out due to decay or disease, your jawbone isn’t the same. When your body perceives that the bone is no longer “needed,” meaning it is no longer passing nutrients and providing support to teeth, the body begins to resorb it.

Over time, this can lead to significant bone loss. In the upper jaw, this bone loss is accompanied by an expanding sinus, a cavity in the maxillary region that overtakes the space previously occupied by your jawbone.

A sinus lift is a procedure that replaces the missing bone, thereby lifting the sinus back into position and creating a strong foundation for the dental implants. If your upper jaw doesn’t have enough healthy bone, it’s impossible to successfully anchor the implants in place.

What to Expect

A sinus lift usually takes place four to nine months before dental implant placement. This gives the jawbone time to fully heal and increases the odds of successful, long-lasting implants.

During surgery, your oral surgeon will make an incision in the gums, exposing the bone beneath. The surgeon will make an opening in the jawbone and gently push the sinus cavity upward. The grafting material is then packed into the space.

The graft will either be composed of your own bone, synthetic bone or bone from a cadaver or animal. Once the graft is complete, the tissue is stitched back together and healing begins.

The Healing Process

You may have general discomfort in the first week after the procedure, but swelling and pain should gradually recede. You may have multiple follow-up appointments to ensure the graft is meshing properly with your bone and there are no further complications. Once the jawbone is hard enough, you can schedule dental implant placement.

Are You a Candidate?

Since dental implants have become the tooth restoration method of choice, sinus lift procedures have increased as well. If you’ve had teeth removed from your upper jaw or they have fallen out, you may be a good candidate.

Your oral surgeon will use X-rays and CT scans to determine the makeup of your jawbone, bone mass and density. Even if you haven’t lost teeth, periodontal disease can cause bone loss, so your oral surgeon or dentist will check for jawbone strength before planning for implants, and may recommend a sinus lift depending on the results of the testing.

Contact Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for expert oral care, and find out today if you need a sinus lift before you get dental implants.