When a patient has lost their rear upper molars, their tooth roots can no longer stimulate the bone which can cause bone atrophy (wasting). This atrophy causes the upper jaw to expand (sinus pneumatisation), leaving inadequate bone to support dental implants.
A sinus lift – which is a bone graft in the upper jaw that pushes the sinus upwards – can remedy this problem.
A sinus lift is also known as a sinus augmentation, sinus graft or sinus elevation.
What are sinuses?
Your sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in your skull that help humidify and filter the air. Your maxillary sinuses sit on either side of your nose. During a sinus lift, your maxillary sinus is ‘lifted’ upwards to make room for the bone which is added between your jaw and the sinuses.
Understanding a sinus lift
A sinus lift involves bone grafting, but it differs as the new bone is deposited higher in the upper jaw. The extra bone sits internally, not outwards or downwards, as with a bone graft in the lower jaw. Consequently, a bone graft requires more post-operative care.
With a sinus lift, you won’t feel any dramatic changes in your mouth or gums. You may even be able to wear a denture afterwards without disturbing the healing process, which can take anywhere between 3 to 12 months, depending on the amount of sinus grafting required.
In some instances, the implant fixtures can be placed at the same time as the sinus grafting procedure. Implants placed in sites that have been grafted show similar success and survival rates as implants placed in native natural bone.
At Aria Dental, our specialist oral surgeons perform sinus graft procedures in-house. We use ultrasonic bone surgery which is less invasive than conventional surgical methods, with quicker recovery time.
After surgery, you may experience swelling and bruising around the cheeks and some discomfort which can be managed with appropriate analgesics.
After your sinus lift, you must avoid:
- excessive pressure in the sinuses
- drinking through a straw