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  • Writer's pictureZen Dental Center

What is a Sinus Lift, and Why Might I Need One? Seattle, WA Implant & Restorative Dentist Explains

If you plan to get a dental implant, you might be told that you need sinus lift surgery first. But what exactly is a sinus lift, and why is it needed? We want to provide you with all the details you need to feel informed and confident as you prepare for your sinus lift procedure. Ahead, we’ll answer frequently asked questions about sinus lift surgery.

What is a Sinus Lift?

A sinus lift (aka sinus augmentation) is a procedure that lifts the floor of the existing sinus membrane and places bone grafting material, in order for a dental implant to have a better chance at success.

For a dental implant to be successful, the jaw needs to have good quality and quantity of bone to support the implant. Without sufficient bone, the implant will not have a proper foundation and the implant will fail.

When is a Sinus Lift Necessary?

Sometimes, there is not enough bone in the upper jaw, or the sinuses are too close to the jaw for the implants to be placed. Common causes include:

  • Gum (periodontal) disease

  • Losing teeth in your upper jaw (causing loss of bone over time)

  • Prior tooth decay which caused damage to the jaw bone

  • Congenital birth defects or other conditions which result in loss of bone structure

  • Natural variation, where sinus cavities are very large or upper jawbone is very thin

Sinus lift surgery can correct these issues by raising the sinus membrane and adding bone to the upper jaw.

What to Expect From Sinus Lift Surgery

There are several different approaches for sinus lift surgery, depending on factors such as how much bone you have in your jaw, what type of bone graft your doctor will use, and the intended placement of the dental implant. After plotting your specific treatment plan, general steps for sinus augmentation include:

  • Administration oral or IV sedation or local anesthesia, to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure.

  • Making incisions into gum tissue to expose the bone.

  • Carefully cutting a small area of the bone.

  • Lifting the cut portion of bone up, raising the sinus membrane.

  • Applying bone graft material into the raised area.

  • Suturing the surgery site closed.

After the procedure is complete, your doctor will provide post-surgery care instructions to aid you in your recovery. Swelling and bleeding are common side effects after sinus lift surgery, but you should be able to return to non-vigorous routine activities in about a week, and your regular lifestyle after about 3 weeks. Your jawbone requires between 4-8 months for the new bone graft material to integrate and heal, after which your dentist can place the dental implant.

Most patients experience minimal discomfort during sinus lift surgery, and the procedure has been shown to greatly increase the success rate and longevity of a dental implant placed in the upper jaw. Sometimes, dental implants require several steps over the course of many months in order to be successful. But properly placed and cared for, dental implants are a remarkably strong and stable tooth replacement that can last a lifetime.

Contact us if you would like to explore your dental implant options today!



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