What is a Sinus Lift?
A sinus lift is a common procedure often performed as part of the dental implant process. Dental implants require sufficient bone to be able to anchor firmly to the jaw and hold replacement teeth in place. The bone that separates the teeth in the back of the upper jaw from the maxillary sinuses is often thin and needs to be built up. A sinus lift raises the position of the sinuses up while creating additional space for new bone to grow.
Who Needs Sinus Lifts?
There are several reasons why a patient may need a sinus lift. The sinuses naturally sit close to the upper jaw in some patients, while other patients may have experienced bone loss due to missing teeth. The bone begins to resorb or deteriorate after a long period of time without tooth roots to stimulate it. Periodontal disease can also affect bone quality and volume.
Patients who are considering dental implants may need a sinus lift or sinus augmentation to increase bone volume and create adequate space to enable proper implant placement.
How is a Sinus Lift Performed?
Patients who may need a sinus lift will undergo a thorough examination with imaging first. Dr. Cherry will then use this imaging to take measurements of the existing bone and see how the sinuses are positioned. He will then develop a treatment plan to precisely lift the sinuses and place a bone graft to stimulate new bone growth. Sedation options will also be discussed to keep patients comfortable during surgery.
A local anesthetic is used to numb the area, and any additional sedation being used is administered before surgery begins. Dr. Cherry will make a small incision in the gums to expose the bone in the back of the upper jaw. A drill is used to remove a small piece of bone and allow for access to the sinuses. A small tool is used to gently raise the sinus up. The bone graft material is placed into the newly created space along the sinus floor, and the gum is sutured closed to keep the graft in place. Dr. Cherry will explain the various types of bone grafting material that can be used and work with patients to decide what best fits their needs.
The bone grafting material is completely enclosed between the jaw and the sinus cavity lining, which provides a layer of protection as the new bone forms. The new bone will fuse with the existing bone and fill the available space to create a thicker layer of bone to hold the dental implant.
Recovery and Aftercare
Downtime following sinus lift surgery is relatively short, and many patients find that they experience little discomfort. Patients are often able to return to work and normal activities within a few days once the anesthesia has worn off and the incision sites begin to heal. Any pain can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers, and an ice pack may be used to minimize swelling. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection. A follow-up appointment might be necessary to remove any sutures if dissolvable sutures were not used.
The actual healing process within the sinus cavity takes longer. It generally takes between 4-6 months for the new bone to develop and strengthen. Patients should try to avoid forcefully blowing their nose or sneezing to reduce the risk of disturbing the bone graft. Dr. Cherry will follow up to ensure that the bone is growing as desired and to determine when there is enough bone available to support dental implants.
You’re in Good Hands with Dr. Cherry
A sinus lift can play an integral role in increasing the chances of successful dental implant surgery. Dr. Cherry and his team ensure that patients understand what to expect during the sinus lift procedure and the recovery process to create a more positive experience. Call Cherry Orchard Oral & Implant Surgery at (864) 603-2464 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how sinus lift surgery can support smile restoration.