If a patient is considering getting dental implants to replace their missing teeth, a dentist will first need to perform a comprehensive exam to see if they are a viable candidate for the treatment. Should they specifically want to have their back upper teeth restored, they may need to undergo a preparatory procedure known as a sinus lift. What is it, what does it entail, and why might you need one?
Sinus Lift Basics
In order for dental implants to be safely placed, a patient must have an adequate amount of healthy jawbone to support the posts. Using dental implants towards the back of the upper jaw can be a bit more complicated because the hollow sinus cavities sit right on top of it, which can cause the jaw to be too thin to securely hold an implant.
In these cases, a dentist may choose to perform what is called a sinus lift, in which the jawbone will be thickened and the sinus membrane will be shifted slightly upwards in order to create room for the implants.
How Does a Sinus Lift Work?
There are two kinds of sinus lift procedures. With the first one, your dentist will create a small “window” in the gums where your teeth used to be, and this will allow them to move a small amount of bone upwards, which will give it more height to support the implant. In some cases, the implant can be placed at the same appointment.
For the other kind of sinus lift, the window is created on the outside of your upper jaw, and this will enable your dentist to gently elevate the sinus membrane and place a bone grafting material on the jaw in the newly created space. This will help stimulate new bone growth in the area, and after a few weeks of healing, your jaw should be able to securely support an implant.
Do I Need One?
This procedure is only necessary in a very particular situation, as in when a patient wants to get dental implants towards the back of their upper jaw but the bone is too thin to support an implant. If you’re looking to replace missing teeth in this area, your dentist will let you know if you need a sinus lift at your initial consultation.
For many, a sinus lift is the very first step in the journey to rebuild their smile. Thanks to the latest dental technology and techniques, your dentist will be able to precisely plan your procedure to ensure its success and your comfort. In the end, it will make sure your new smile is healthy, strong, and built to last.
About the Author
Dr. Shahin Ghobadi is an oral surgeon and implant dentist based in Montville, NJ. Over the course of his career, he has successfully placed thousands of dental implants and performed hundreds of sinus lifts, and he continues to improve his skillset through continuing education each year. His practice, Comprehensive Dental, is currently accepting new patients, so if you would like to learn more about what dental implants can do for you, he can be contacted through his website.