by on April 26, 2012

What’s A Sinus Lift?

Sinus Lift

This is basically a surgical process which aims at adding a bone to the patient’s upper jaw in the region of premolars and molars. Also referred to as a sinus augmentation, the process involves adding the bone between the maxillary sinuses and the jaw that are on the nose’s either side. For making room for the bone, the patient’s sinus membrane needs to be “lifted” or moved upward.

Why Sinus Lift?

If a person doesn’t have enough bone in his/her upper jaw, or if he/she has sinuses that are excessively close to the jaw, a sinus lift may be required- especially for the placement of dental implant. There could be reasons behind the need of having a sinus lift:

  1. Many individuals lose teeth in the upper jaw, which is typically true for back teeth or molar. In the absence of enough bone, the dentist can’t place a dental implant. The anatomical structure of the skull results in causing the upper jaw to have less bone as compared to the lower jaw.
  2. Another reason could be loss of bone as a result of periodontal disease.
  3. Tooth loss can result in bone loss. After the teeth have disappeared, the resorption of bone begins i.e, the bone starts absorbing back into the affected person’s body. If teeth have been missing for a prolonged period, there isn’t enough bone for the placement of implants.
  4. In some cases, the maxillary sinus is extremely close to the upper jaw and hinders the placement of implants. As the size of sinuses varies from person to person, they may get bigger in size as the body ages.


Preparation for the Procedure

The bone used in this procedure tends to come from the patient’s own body or from a cadaver. If the bone to be used is from the patient’s own body, then it will be taken from some part of the mouth or body.  At times, the bone is removed from the hip or tibia.

The dentists will have to study the anatomical structure of the patient’s jaw and sinus, for which X-rays are required. A CT scan may also be needed for allowing the dentist to precisely measure the width and height of the existing bone as well as to assess the sinus health.


About the Procedure

As part of the procedure, the gum tissue is cut at the location where the patient’s back teeth were. The tissue is then raised, which exposes the bone. Once an oval window is opened in the bone, the membrane that lines the sinus on the window’s other side separates the patient’s sinus from the jaw. The membrane is pushed up and away from the jaw in a gentle manner.

Bone-graft material granules are later packed into the area where the sinus used to be. The bone’s amount that should be used during the procedure varies, but generally a couple of millimeters of bone are added above the patient’s jaw.

After the placement of bone, the expert stitches the tissue. Dental implants are placed around three to nine months after this procedure. This gap in time makes sure that the grafted material has perfectly meshed with the bone.