What Is A Sinus Lift?
The maxillary sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces located behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Occasionally, the height of the bone between the dental ridge and sinus floor is short. When the bone height is very short, it is impossible to place dental implants in the area since implants require proper bone height.
The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation. A sinus lift is one of the most common bone grafting procedures for patients with bone loss in the upper jaw. The procedure seeks to grow bone in the floor of the maxillary sinus above the bony ridge of the gum line that anchors the teeth in the upper jaw. By strengthening and growing bone in this location, dental implants can be placed and secured in the new bone growth.
- Crestal (internal) sinus lift: Minimum of 7-8 mm of bone height should already exist to be able to have this procedure done.
- Lateral window sinus lift: This is done when there is minimum bone height and significant reconstruction is needed.
How Do You Prepare For A Sinus Lift?
You must first have a consultation with Dr. Jamali. A 3D radiograph is taken in the office and the procedure is explained. The risks and benefits are discussed in full for at least an hour. Choice of local or IV sedation is then offered. The procedure will take place at the next appointment.
Patients should avoid taking any herbal medications 10 days prior to the surgery. These include fish oil and any food that starts with the letter G. Some examples are: ginkgo and garlic. Ibuprofen or Aspirin should be avoided for at least 10 days prior. These medications result in moderate bleeding during surgery. Those patients that take medications to treat conditions such as Thyroid disease or hypertension should continue to do so, even if they are having IV sedation.
Why Is A Sinus Lift Performed?
A sinus lift may be necessary if you are missing:’
- More than one tooth in the back of your jaw.
- A significant amount of bone in the back of your jaw.
- Teeth due to a birth defect or condition.
- Most of the maxillary teeth, but require support for dental implants.
What Can You Expect During A Sinus Lift?
In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, a small incision is made on the premolar or molar region to expose the jawbone. A small opening is made into the bone, and the membrane lining in sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material, either from your own body or from a bovine. Sometimes, synthetic materials that can imitate bone formation are used. After the bone is implanted, the incision is stitched up and the healing process begins. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months. This depends on the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option besides wearing loose dentures.
What Is The Followup And Recovery Like For A Sinus Augmentation?
Your bone graft is made up of many particles. You may find some small granules in your mouth for the first several days. Do not be alarmed by these. It’s normal to have some of them come out of the graft site and into your mouth.
Following the second day, gentle rinsing would be allowed but not too vigorously as you can again disturb some of the bone graft granules. If a partial denture or a flipper was placed in your mouth, you may have to see your restorative dentist to have it adjusted and learn how to remove and replace it appropriately.
There are some things you should do to minimize the amount of particles that become dislodged:
- Do not disturb or touch the wound.
- Avoid rinsing or spitting for 2 days to allow blood clot and graft material stabilization.
- Do not apply pressure with your tongue or fingers to the grafted area as the material is movable during the initial healing.
- Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection.
- Do not lift or pull on the lip to look at the sutures. This can actually cause damage to the wound site and tear the sutures.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not blow your nose for 4-6 weeks.
It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress please call the office. Please try to call during office hours, however, a 24-hour answering service is available for after hours contact with a doctor. The after hours telephone number is (212) 480-2777.
What Are The Potential Costs For A Sinus Lift?
The cost for sinus lift depends on the type performed. The crestal (internal) and lateral sinus lift can range from $1,500 to $2,500 for each side.
What Are The Potential Risks For A Sinus Augmentation?
As with any procedure, unexpected post-operative healing can occur. If you notice the unexpected flow of air or liquids between your mouth and nose, please let us know immediately.
Please also let us know if:
- You become aware of several small particles of graft material being discharged from your nose
- If you experience sinus or nasal congestion on the side your surgery was performed
- if there is an increase in swelling in your mouth, cheek or under your eye after 3 days