Sinus lift surgery adds bone to your upper jaw in the area of your molars and premolars, between your jaw and sinuses, on either side of your nose. The sinus membrane has to be “lifted” to make room for the bone. Sinus lifts have become common as more people are choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth.
- Many people who have lost back teeth in their upper jaw do not have enough bone for implants to be placed. Anatomically, the back of the upper jaw has less bone than the lower jaw.
- Bone may have been lost because of gum (periodontal) disease.
- Tooth loss may have led to a loss of bone. If teeth have been missing for a long time, there often is not enough bone left to place implants.
- The maxillary sinus may be too close to the upper jaw for implants to be placed.
- The bone may come from your own body, from a cadaver or from animal bone.
- If your own bone is used, it will be taken from other areas of your mouth or body, such as your hip or tibia.
- X-rays are taken before your sinus lift so the dentist can study the anatomy of your jaw and sinus. You also may need a CT scan.
- After a sinus lift, it will take several months for the bony material to harden and integrate with your jaw.
- Your implants may be placed in four to nine months..
Are there risks?
The main risk is that the sinus membrane could be punctured or torn. If this happens, your dentist will either stitch the tear or place a patch over it, and will redo the sinus lift once the membrane has healed. Rarely, the existing bone does not integrate with the grafted bone, and the area does not develop a blood supply. If this happens, the implants will fail because there is no live bone for them to attach to.