What is a sinus lift?
A sinus lift, technically known as floor lift as well, is a surgical procedure performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or periodontist. This procedure is used when there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw, especially in the premolar or molar region, to allow the implant to be placed.
Here is a simple description of what happens during treatment:
Before anything happens in the operation theater the surgeon takes a 3d scan to analyze jawbone density and quality. If necessary he/she will do sinus lift for the success of the treatment. Sinus lift is only possible in the upper molar region.
The surgeon will make an incision in the gum where the implant is placed.
After the gum is lifted, a small window will be created in the bone below.
The thin protective membrane of the sinus is gently pushed upwards, effectively “lifting” it.
The space created between the raised sinus membrane and the jawbone is filled with bone graft material. This material can be your own bone, synthetic bone, or bone from a donor.
The gum tissue is then sutured and the implant placement usually takes place several months later, when the graft has integrated into your natural bone.The goal of this procedure is to create enough bone height in the upper jaw to allow safe implant placement, which is used to replace missing teeth.
Why do you need a sinus lift?
It becomes necessary when certain conditions are met.
1. Insufficient bone height
If your maxilla height is insufficient due to natural anatomy or bone loss, dental implants may not be an option without a sinus lift.
2. Loss of teeth
Loss of teeth, especially in the premolars or molars of the upper jaw, can lead to bone resorption (loss), necessitating a sinus lift to increase the amount of bone needed to support the implant.
3. Severe gum disease
Severe gum disease, especially in the upper molars, can lead to bone loss and the need for a sinus lift to create a suitable environment for implant placement.
4. Extraction of teeth
Sometimes teeth are extracted due to decay or damage. If this is happening in the upper jaw and you want dental implants, it may be a good idea to perform a sinus lift to prepare the area for the implant. In case of extractions patients always lose some jawbone. It can be more or less, but as time is passing by jawbone receds and you lose more bone if there is no implant based replacement.
5. Injury or trauma
Facial trauma or damage to the upper jaw can lead to bone loss, requiring a sinus lift to place the implant.
6. Size and location of natural sinuses:
The size and natural position of the sinuses can affect the existing bone height. Some people naturally have larger sinuses or lower sinus positions, which makes sinus lifts easier.
How to avoid sinus lift when possible
1. Replacing lost teeth quickly
If you are facing tooth loss, consider replacing them with dental implants early to avoid significant bone loss over time. The sooner you get the implant replacement after extraction the less likely you wil need sinus lift and bone graft.
2. Bone grafting at tooth extraction
If extraction is required, especially in the upper jaw, ask your oral surgeon about the possibility of a simultaneous bone graft. This proactive approach can help maintain bone height.
3. Short implant
In some cases, shorter dental implants designed to reduce bone height can be used to avoid sinus lifts.
4. Enhanced Image
Precise 3D imaging and digital technology can help dentists accurately assess bone density and sinus location. This allows for more precise implant planning and, in some cases, avoids sinus elevation.
5. Consult an expert
Seek advice from an experienced oral surgeon who can assess your specific situation and offer tailored solutions to avoid or minimize the need for a sinus lift.
A sinus lift may seem complicated, but it is a well-proven procedure that has allowed countless people to experience the benefits of dental implants. If you find yourself in a situation where a sinus lift surgery is required, remember that it is a safe and effective way to create the necessary bone support for your implant.
To avoid or minimize the need for a sinus lift, proactive oral care, timely tooth replacement, and consultation with an experienced specialist are essential. Ultimately, the goal is to not only restore your smile, but also your confidence and oral health. By understanding when and why a sinus lift is needed, you can take steps to ensure a smooth and successful dental implant journey. Your dream smile may be closer than you think!