Patients who have experienced tooth loss in their upper jaw that has resulted in insufficient bone mass for an implant, may qualify for a surgical procedure known as a Sinus Lift.
This bone-grafting procedure can be used to build up the preferred 5 millimetre of bone required for the placement of an upper jaw implant. The Sinus Lift moves the sinus membrane upward and allows for the grafting of additional bone between the upper jaw and the maxillary sinuses.
The Sinus Lift bone augmentation is performed by a specialist oral surgeon and can produce significant benefits for patients suffering tooth loss from physical accidents or periodontal gum disease. The Sinus Lift is also capable of providing sufficient bone for patients whose teeth have been missing for a substantial period of time and the tooth socket and bone have resorbed. This is often the case with patients who have had tooth extractions, where bone loss can be as much as 40-60% within the 3 years following the extraction.
The Sinus Lift is also beneficial to patients whose maxillary sinus is too close to their upper jaw to allow implant placement.
Preparation for the Sinus Lift procedure involves the careful study of the patient’s jaw and sinus anatomy through a number of x-rays, as well as results from a cone beam CT scan, which allows measurement of the existing bone. An assessment of the patient’s overall sinus health is also developed.
The Sinus Lift surgery procedure involves incisions inside the mouth, into the cheek of the upper jaw where the dental implant is to be placed. This incised tissue flap allows access to the upper jaw bone and means there is no skin scarring following the surgery. The exposed bone is precisely cut to allow access to the sinus membrane lining, so it can be moved slightly upward and inward into the sinus cavity. This movement, or lift, of the membrane produces enough space for the upper jaw bone graft and the stable placement of the dental implant.
Normally, there is a 6-9 month healing period following the Sinus Lift surgery before implant placement is pursued dependent upon the type of bone graft material used. Upper jaw bone grafts can utilise the patient’s own bone, irradiated cadaver bone, synthetic bone, or bovine-derived bone.
Following the Sinus Lift surgery, there is commonly some swelling in the sinus area and bleeding in the mouth and nose. It is important that Sinus Lift patient’s refrain from blowing their nose or sneezing so as to not loosen stitches or jar bone graft material. Seasonal allergy sufferers are advised to plan their Sinus Lift procedure with those afflictions in mind. Nasal sprays and medication can keep nose tissues moist and reduce the risk of sneezing.
Sinus Lift patients will return two weeks following their surgery to have stitches removed and to allow an assessment of their healing. Regular appointments will be scheduled throughout the healing process to monitor progress. Your oral surgeon will thoroughly advise you on any follow-up procedures, including recommendations on pain control or bleeding that does not subside within normal parameters.