Preparation for dental implants sometimes requires surgery to prepare your jawbone. On the top teeth, this can include a procedure called a sinus lift. This procedure increases the amount of bone available for the implants to be anchored in. Without sufficient bone mass, the implants will not be successful.
Why Would I Need a Sinus Lift?
The sinuses are cavities in the skull. The largest of these, the maxillary sinuses, are located just above the upper jaw. If you’re having implants to replace upper teeth, the bone between the gum and the open area of the sinus must be thick enough to support the implant.
There are two major reasons why there might not be enough bone in the upper jaw to support your implant. In some people, the sinuses are positioned in the skull in such a way that the bone is thinner than usual and there is very little space to place an implant. In other cases, the jawbone has deteriorated due to the lack of teeth to stimulate the tissue to grow normally. In both these cases, a sinus lift might be necessary.
What is a Sinus Lift?
A sinus lift procedure is similar to a bone graft performed on the lower jaw. The graft is placed between the jawbone and the sinus. In order to properly place the graft, an oral surgeon must lift the sinus membrane to make room for it. The membrane is then put back into place after the bone graft is completed. This procedure effectively “lifts” the bottom of the sinus cavity.
After the sinus lift procedure, you’ll go through a healing period before your dental implants can be placed. Your oral surgeon will evaluate your healing to determine when the implant procedure can proceed. The artificial tooth roots are placed directly into the newly augmented bone, where the bone tissue will bond with the titanium in the implant. After you’ve healed sufficiently from this part of the procedure, your prosthetic teeth are put in place and you’ll be able to show off your perfect new smile.
For more information about dental implants, contact our oral surgery team at Northern Virginia Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today.