If you and your Yuba City dentist decide to install a dental implant, there needs to be sufficient bone in the jaw to anchor the implant screw. For a molar or premolar replacement in the upper jaw area, you may need a procedure known as sinus lift surgery, also called a sinus augmentation. This procedure adds bone to your upper jaw in the area of the maxillary sinuses on either side of your nose. To make room for the bone, the sinus membrane must be “lifted,” or moved upward.
Who Needs a Sinus Lift?
A sinus lift is needed when the floor of the sinus cavity needs lifting, or the sinuses are too close to the jaw, preventing proper placement of dental implants. But why is that necessary?
This is due to a variety of reasons, including:
- The skull’s anatomy provides for less bone in the upper jaw than the lower jaw. At times, tooth loss in the upper jaw simply does not provide enough bone to anchor an implant.
- An individual’s sinus cavity may not be the right size or shape to accommodate an implant, or is too close to the upper jaw for implants to be placed.
- If a tooth has been missing for a longer period of time, the surrounding bone tissue is reabsorbed into the body.
The last thing you want is to install an implant, only to have it puncture the sinus or come loose at a later date due to a weakness in the surrounding bone. Why might your upper jaw be weak, especially after tooth loss?
Bone needs stimulation to stay strong; when it comes to the jawbone, teeth provide that stimulation. When teeth are missing, the loss of stimulation causes the body to stop creating new bone cells in the area, and that leads to a reduction in bone volume and density. Periodontal (gum) disease may also reduce the amount of tooth-supporting bone. A sinus lift is the most common way to create more bone where needed in the upper jaw.
Where Do You Get the Bone?
Your dentist may choose to use bone from another part of your body, for example the jaw or hip. It is also possible to use bone-grafting materials that are processed in a laboratory, specifically for this type of procedure. Synthetic products are also available. Any material used for grafting must be specially treated to reduce any risk of being rejected by the patient’s body. They must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and prepared according to pre-determined guidelines. The Yuba City Dentistry Group always uses safe and effective bone grafting materials and procedures to ensure success.
Your dentist begins by using x-ray imaging to assess the shape, location, and health of the sinus cavity. Options for anesthesia will also be discussed at this time. Most patients choose local anesthesia, but additional sedation or anti-anxiety medication (administered orally or via injection) is also available.
Your surgeon then cuts the gum tissue where your tooth was previously located. A small window is made in the bone, exposing the membrane that lines the sinus. This membrane is raised, and the space beneath is filled with bone graft material.
The gum is then stitched together. The site is allowed to heal, so the grafted material meshes with your bone. The amount of time needed depends on the amount of bone grafted, but implants are typically placed anywhere from four to nine months later.
What to Expect After Surgery
You may experience some swelling and minor discomfort, but this should only last a few days. You should avoid blowing your nose forcefully, as this could loosen the stitches, cause the bone-graft material to move, or increase bleeding from the nose or mouth.
Your dentist may give you a saline spray to keep the inner lining of your nose wet. He or she will also give you pain medication and will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection. After seven to ten days, the dentist evaluates the surgical site and removes any stitches, if they do not dissolve on their own.
Sinus lift surgery is a safe and effective procedure that opens the possibility of using implants on a greater variety of patients. If you have any additional questions, make an appointment at the Yuba City Dentistry Group today for a free consultation and we would be happy to answer them for you. You may call us at (530) 671-4784, use our website’s appointment request system or stop by our convenient office at 1052 Live Oak Boulevard in Yuba City. Implants are made possible with sinus lift surgery!