What is a sinus lift?
A sinus lift is a type of surgery that involves adding extra bone to the area in your upper jaw around where your molars are. It lifts the maxillary sinuses which are those on either side of your nose.
Why you may need a sinus lift
A sinus lift may be recommended when the bone height in the upper jaw is lacking. This can mean that the sinuses are too close to the jaw, which may lead to some issues especially when inserting dental implants. Loss of bone in the jaw can occur due to a variety of reasons such as:
- Loss of upper molars
- Gum disease
- Size and placement of the maxillary sinus
Where does the additional bone come from?
The extra bone matter used in a sinus lift can either come from you the patient, a cadaver, or from a cow bone. In the case of the bone coming from the patient, this could be bone from your mouth, hip or knee.
How is the procedure carried out?
The sinus lift procedure involves removing the gum around the area of the upper molar, to expose the bone. After this, a hole is made through the bone, allowing access to the sinus membrane. The membrane is then moved up and the bone graft is used to fill the space left by the membrane. The tissue is then stitched together and left so the graft material can mesh with the bone; take from 4 – 9 months. After this dental implants can be placed in the mouth.
Caring for your sinus lift
There are a few important factors which you must consider when taking care of your sinus lift. Immediately after the procedure your mouth and nose may bleed. During this time it is important that you refrain from blowing your nose or sneezing as it may dislodge the stitches. Most patients only experience a small amount of discomfort after the surgery, but it’s important that you take care of the health of your mouth and return for scheduled follow up appointments.
Can the sinus membrane tear in surgery?
It is possible that the delicate membrane of the sinus might tear during the surgery. If this happens, the surgeon will either patch the tear during the procedure, or possibly only continue the procedure once the puncture has healed. If this does happen, there is no need to worry as the membrane will repair and grow back thicker, therefore a second tear is highly unlikely and the process can continue as usual.