Dental implants are a remarkable treatment option for individuals who have suffered tooth loss. In order for them to thrive, however, they need to have a strong base of support in the jawbone. To ensure that your implants have all the support they need, your dentist might recommend that you undergo a sinus lift procedure. What is a sinus lift, and why might it be necessary? Let’s talk about the answers to these important questions.
What Is a Sinus Lift?
Your sinuses are located above your upper jaw. During a sinus lift procedure, also known as sinus augmentation, your dentist literally raises your sinuses, then places a bone graft beneath them to keep them in place. (The bone may come from your own body, a donor, or another source.) Over time, your body integrates the grafted material. Then, your upper jaw will be ready to support dental implants.
Reasons for a Sinus Lift
A sinus lift is necessary if there is not enough bone in your upper jaw to accommodate a dental implant. Without adequate bone volume, an implant could end up penetrating the sinus and lead to complications. A few reasons why you might not have enough bone for a dental implant include:
- You have naturally large sinuses
- You are somewhat up in years (the sinuses tend to enlarge with age)
- Your tooth loss occurred a long time ago, and your body has resorbed part of your jawbone, causing it to become thinner
- Periodontal (gum) disease has damaged the bone
Your dentist will use advanced imaging technology to examine your upper jaw and determine whether you require a sinus lift. It is a relatively common procedure, but it is not necessary in all cases.
What to Expect with a Sinus Lift
If your dentist determines that you need a sinus lift, there is no reason to worry. Thanks to modern surgical techniques and sedation, you should feel little to nothing during the procedure. You can expect to spend at least a few hours in your dentist’s office, and you should have a friend or family member available to drive you home.
Some swelling and minor bleeding are common in the days following the surgery, but most patients are feeling relatively normal within a week or two. However, it may take several months (at least 4 – 6 months) before your graft is fully integrated into your bone and you are able to receive a dental implant.
A sinus lift can be an important stepping stone on your way to a restored smile! Your dentist would be happy to further educate you on this remarkable procedure.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. John E. Russo is a highly experienced, highly trained dentist in the Orlando area with more than 25 years of experience in his field. He offers a number of advanced services, including sinus lifts and dental implant placement. If you would like to learn more about dental implants and the treatment process they require, contact our office at 407-843-2112.