A sinus lift or sinus augmentation is a dental procedure which adds bone mass to the upper jaw typically between the molars and premolars. In order to ensure there is adequate room for the added bone graft, the sinus membrane is lifted which is where the name came from. There are myriad reasons for why patients need this procedure performed.
While the conditions for a sinus lift might be in place for years, it is not necessary to get it corrected until the need for surgery requires it. For instance, if dental implants are being placed and there is too little bone mass to attach them properly, the procedure will need to be done. Also, if there is bone loss caused by periodontal disease or by the absorption of bone from the jaw due to tooth loss there could be a need for a sinus lift. If there is not enough bone tissue between the sinuses and the upper jaw whether due to genetics, tooth extraction or decay.
To perform a sinus lift it is necessary to get bone either from the patient or another source such as a cadaver or a cow. X-rays will be taken to determine the best placement of the graft. A cut is then made where the back teeth used to be and create a small hole in the actual bone. The piece of bone is then raised into the sinus cavity and the bone graft is used to fill the space. Once the incisions are closed, the procedure is complete.
After the surgery is done, it will take approximately four to twelve months to completely heal before the dental implants can be placed. It is recommended the patient not blow their nose or sneeze frequently whenever possible to allow for healing. Any questions can be answered with a simple phone call.