Are you missing one, two, three, or a full row of teeth? Dental implants are more than 98% successful, in eligible candidates, but they do require plenty of healthy jawbone to attach to. People who have been dealing with tooth loss for a while or those who have severe gum disease may have lost too much bone structure for the implants to anchor properly. And when molars are missing from the upper jaw, even the very anatomy of the skull can inhibit the success of dental implants. A sinus lift helps.
As a highly experienced periodontist, Dr. Sean Moriarty is specially qualified to perform this common preparatory procedure. Keep reading to learn more about why you may need a sinus lift before getting dental implants.
What Is Sinus Lift?
A sinus lift adds healthy bone structure to the area above your upper molars. It’s not uncommon to need a sinus lift before replacing these teeth, as the area often lacks the structure necessary for proper implant anchoring. During a sinus lift, bone is added between the maxillary sinuses — you have one on each side of your nose — and your jaw. To make room for additional bone structure, your oral surgeon “lifts” the sinus first, pushing it away to make room for the new tissue.
How Is Sinus Lift Performed?
There are three options of donor bone tissue for any bone graft: your own bone, a cadaver, or bone from a cow. The bone is harvested first. Your doctor will take X-rays and maybe a CT scan of the sinus area and put together a treatment plan for the lift.
To begin, your doctor opens the gums and exposes the bone beneath the tissue. The sinus is pushed up, or lifted, away from the jaw. Then, the healthy donor bone tissue is packed into the area, and it is sewn shut. Healing begins. Local anesthesia numbs the area throughout the treatment, and sedation dentistry from Mor Smiles is available for additional relaxation.
What to Expect After a Sinus Lift
After the sinus lift is complete, you will begin on a months-long healing process during which the donor bone tissue hardens and becomes one with your jaw. We can place your dental implants once the area has completely healed — anywhere from 4 to 12 months later. Sometimes, the dental implants can be placed on the very same day as the sinus lift. The dental implants will require another healing period after they are placed.
Immediately after the sinus lift procedure, you may experience discomfort, swelling, and minimal bleeding. Follow our post-op instructions carefully to speed through your recovery. We may prescribe pain medicine, an antibiotic, and/or an antimicrobial mouthrinse to prevent infection after the procedure. Notify us if your symptoms worsen or do not subside after several days.
Questions? Ask Your Dentist in Lancaster
If you have remaining questions regarding this common preparatory procedure, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mor Smiles. We want to make sure you have all the information you need in the leadup to your dental implant placement — contact our team of experts today!