Do you always think of root canals, braces, and cavities when you think of dental procedures? Yellow teeth and empty spaces in the mouth that require immediate attention. While many patients do need treatment for these issues, dental problems do not stop there.
Scary as it sounds, sinus lift surgery is often ignored, mainly because the surgery itself added to the fact that it is a mouth surgery doesn’t sound very inviting. However, sinus lift surgery has a proven track record for improving oral health. Let’s dive into the facts about the sinus lift and help you make an informed decision. Don’t throw away the option of a sinus lift just yet. It may be your finest one.
What is Sinus Lift Surgery?
That is the big question hounding many.
Sinus lift surgery is a dental surgical procedure that adds bone to the upper jaw. It is also referred to as an augmentation that makes it easier to place dental implants.
This procedure helps patients who need dental implants but have the insufficient bone structure to support an implant in their mouth. For implants to fit in properly, jaws need bone support; hence extra bone is placed around the molars and premolars.
This is also called the sinus augmentation procedure, as the grafted bone is placed between the maxillary sinuses and the jaw. Since the entire space being worked upon is confined, the membrane of the sinuses is moved upwards, lending it the ‘lift.’
When should you opt for this surgery?
Due to the advancement in dental technology, people opt for dental implants that significantly change their looks. There has been a rise in this trend for the past decade. Implants have been readily available for the past 25 years, making them a more viable option for people seeking a dental procedure. But not everyone can use a dental implant without modifying their existing oral denture and jawbone structure. Sinus lift surgery became popular as an option to change this. People who may not have sufficient bones to support implants can easily get surgery and implants.
A short list of reasons when you should opt for sinus lift surgery are:
- You have insufficient bones in the jaw for a dental implant
- Your teeth and jaw do not have enough room between themselves for these implants.
- Your health care professional recommends that you get this surgery.
There are many reasons why some people may have anomalies in their jaws; some of the reasons are listed below:
- Many people lose molars in their upper jaw. There is nothing wrong with this because it is part of the teeth lifecycle. As this loss occurs, there is a bone loss too. Adding some bones before an implant becomes very necessary.
- Some people neglect their oral health and live with bad gums, periodontal disease, and bad teeth for years. This causes teeth loss as well as bone loss.
- Our bodies absorb calcium naturally. Hence whenever there is teeth loss, the body feels that the attached bone is no longer needed. Often it dilutes such a bone and absorbs it for better usage of calcium elsewhere in the body. However, this becomes inconvenient when implants need to be put in.
- Some people are born with maxillary sinuses that are close together, which requires a lift for implants.
Opting for the procedure is very common and has shown favorable results in the past ten years. However, the statistics are not a benchmark to go by. It is important to understand how this procedure is performed.
How is Sinus Lift Performed?
Many patients are terrified of the surgery; they think it is invasive and painful. However, asking your dentist about the procedure should clear your mind and inform you of all the risks and benefits of the procedure. At all times, make sure you know of all the options before deciding.
Before the surgery
The first step is to meet the surgeon before the operation. Ask them all your questions and put your fears about the procedure before them. Your doctor must have an open discussion with you and list the process step by step.
On the day of the surgery
- You will likely be sedated during the surgery, so you will not feel any pain. Your doctor will either use local or general anesthesia. Your doctor may use nitro oxide; however, that seldom happens.
- Once you have numbed out completely, the doctor makes an incision along the gums to expose the bone.
- Once the bone is exposed, the surgeon will use special tools to craft a small hole in the bone giving them a clear picture of the sinus.
- Once there is a clear view, the surgeon moves the membrane of the sinus gently up and out of the way to make space for the graft.
- A few granules of graft material are placed where the membrane used to be. Sufficient graft material is added to ensure that the new bone growth is adequate and the ‘augmentation’ is successful.
- Once this procedure is done, the tissues are sealed back into place using stitches. The bone is left to heal. Ideally, the implants are added in a follow-up appointment a few months later.
However, make sure you keep in touch with your surgeon throughout your healing time. It is imperative that your healing process goes according to plan and that bone growth is effective for the next step.
Are there any Risks Involved?
- The most significant risk is that the membrane could tear or develop a hole during lifting. If this happens, the surgeon can try stitching the tear. If impossible to stitch, the surgeon will cease the procedure and give the tear time to heal.
- The second risk is catching an infection from the environment. With a sinus lift procedure, it is improbable.
- The rarest of anomalies is when the normal bone does not take to the graft. Once this happens, the graft will not develop a blood supply. The only remedy is to repeat the procedure.