What is a sinus lift?
Sinus lift or sinus augmentation is a surgical procedure to add bone to the upper jaw in the molar and premolar area.
During a sinus lift bone is added between the jaw and the maxillary sinuses. The sinus membrane is lifted to make room for the bone. This procedure should be carried out by an oral surgeon or periodontist.
Why do a sinus lift?
There are circumstances in which dental implants cannot be placed, for example, if the upper jaw has insufficient bone or when the sinuses are too near to the jaw. The procedure of sinus lifting may be carried out enabling dental implant treatment.
There are several reasons for doing a sinus lift:
- Loss of teeth in the upper jaw, especially at the back
- Insufficient bone for dental implant placement
- Periodontal gum disease related bone loss
- Bone loss over time due of the untreated loss of teeth
- Sinuses too close to the upper jaw
Sinus lift preparation
For the sinus lift to be performed, you first need to have bone obtained either from the patient’s own body, usually taken from the jaw or hip, a tissue bank, or sometimes even from a cow (xenograft).
The patient will also need an X-ray so the specialist can take a close look at the anatomy of the mouth. Sometimes a special computer aided tomography is needed, allowing the dentist to perform a detailed evaluation.
First, the surgeon makes an incision in the gum tissue and raises the tissue to get to the bone. Next, a small opening is made in the bone and the membrane lining the sinus is pushed upward from the jaw.
In the next stage, bone-graft material is packed where the sinus was previously. Depending on the case, various amounts of bone are used, however, on average several millimetres of bone material is transferred.
After the bone is placed, stitches are used to close the tissue. In 4 to 9 months the implants can be placed.