Tooth loss often leads to bone loss in the jaw. A dental implant needs a solid foundation of bone to support it, and bone loss is a common issue when teeth have been missing for a significant period of time. When bone loss occurs in the upper premolar or molar areas the sinus can fill in the gap left by the receding bone. No harm is caused by the sinus filling in the gap left by receding bone, but if dental implants are desired a sinus lift may be necessary.
The upper premolar and molar teeth’s roots can sometimes occupy the sinus cavity or be positioned very close to it. As a result, it is common for the bone loss associated with tooth loss to affect the sinus cavity. In circumstances such as these, before placing implants we will perform a sinus lift/augmentation.
What is involved in the procedure?
Before we start the procedure we prepare by taking x-rays of the jaw and sinus area so we know exactly what must be done. If the patient has seasonal allergies we strongly recommend that this procedure not be done while they are active.
Local anesthetic is applied to numb the site then a small incision in the bone where the tooth used to be is made. We use this hole to gain access to the bottom of the sinus cavity (Schneiderian membrane). The sinus is carefully pushed up into a higher position in the cavity. The result is a free space between where the bone ends and the sinus begins, which encourages the bone to naturally grow and fill in that space. A bone graft will be placed into the space created by this procedure to prevent the sinus from falling back into its original position and to encourage bone growth.
When the graft is in place we suture the gum tissue closed and the site is allowed to heal for anywhere from four to nine months. The long recovery time allows the graft to meld with the jaw and varies depending on how much material needed to be placed.
Following Sinus Augmentation
Recovery from the procedure is typically uneventful. Saline solution is prescribed for the patient to help mitigate dry nasal tissue. Blowing of the nose ought to be avoided and nosebleeds are common following sneezes.
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