Sinus lifts are common among people who want dental implants because there must be a wider space in the mouth for a dental implant to be successfully carried out.
Sinus lifts have a high success rate, and research has shown that out of the many amounts of people who carry out this surgery every year, 95.7% come out successful and the remaining percentage has little complications that are easily addressable. Therefore, for anyone who looks forward to getting a dental implant or is on the verge of getting one, you should understand the sinus lift procedure.
What is Sinus Lift?
A sinus lift, also known as a sinus graft or sinus augmentation is a surgical procedure performed to increase the amount of bone in the upper jaw by adding bones in between the molars and premolars of the upper jaw, by lifting the sinus membrane and placing a bone graft.
This surgery is often done for people who need dental implants but do not have enough bone support for the implants or have suffered bone loss. Also, in some cases, it is one of the many procedures done during full mouth construction surgery.
Reasons for Sinus Lift
You may need a sinus lift procedure for the following reasons.
- When you have bone loss in your upper jaw due to gum disease or tooth loss
- When the bone size in your upper jaw is too short.
- When your sinuses are very close to the jaw.
- When there is no room for a dental implant to be placed.
Types of Bone Graft Used in Sinus Lift
To fill in the bone in the upper jaw, a bone graft is needed. Bone grafts are of different types, gotten from different places. They include:
- Autogenous bone; gotten from your own body.
- Allogeneic bone; gotten from a cadaver
- Xenograft; gotten from mammals especially cows.
- Synthetic bone; gotten from manmade materials especially metal.
Surgery Procedure and Process
You should consult with your surgeon, who would go through your medical records, making sure you are capable of handling the procedure. This is often founded on your health condition, mental state, habits, and medications.
If you are considered fit, he will go ahead to access the upper jaw bone, taking measurements for the bone graft needed. Then you will get to choose what type of bone graft you require, about the advice of your surgeon.
Thereafter, a day for the surgery will be fixed. You will be advised to:
- Stay away from smoking and alcohol, mostly 2 to 3 weeks before the surgery. This is because they reduce the rate of healing.
- Stop nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
- You will be administered either local or general anesthesia.
- The gum tissue covering the upper jawbone will be cut and pulled away exposing the bone.
- On exposure, a small circle is cut into the bone itself, separating the bone from the sinus.
- The sinus membrane is pushed up and away from the jawbone, making room for the exact height of the bone graft needed.
- If the bone graft is autogenous, the donor site, which you might have already chosen will be operated on and the right size of bone graft will be removed. However, for other types of grafts, they would have already been made available.
- The previously determined bone graft will be filled into the space between the jawbone and sinus.
- With the newly filled in graft, the gum tissue will be placed back in order and the incision will be sutured back.
You will be moved to the ICU to recuperate and painkillers will be administered to you to pacify the pains.
How Long Does The Surgery Take?
A sinus lift is hardly complex and within 1 to 3 hours, the surgery can be completed.
A bone graft takes about 3 to 6 months to fuse with the jawbone and sinus. However, the rate of healing depends on the type of bone graft used.
Quick recovery means adhering to a lot of precautionary measures. They include:
- For the pains that may persist for some weeks, take pain relievers as prescribed by your surgeon.
- You are likely to bleed sometimes. When this occurs, bit on a gauze pad for up to 30 minutes to stop the flow.
- Place a cold patch in your mouth to reduce the swelling and pains.
- Take antibiotics and use mouthwash to rinse your mouth regularly to prevent infection.
- Avoid brushing and flossing the area till after 1 to 2 weeks.
- Avoid hot food for a couple of weeks in order not to irritate the area. You can start eating warm meals for 7 days.
- Avoid eating hard crunchy food, in order not to make the bone graft shift and the incision rupture. Eat soft easy to chew food instead.
- Avoid strenuous activities that would affect the mouth.
- Do not sneeze or blow your nose forcefully as this can shift the bone graft and rupture the incision.
- Visit your surgeon after 1 to 2weeks so he can monitor and examine your healing progress and take out the stitches that have not melted.
A sinus lift is a safe surgical procedure with a high success rate, but even with this, complications can still arise after the surgery. These complications include:
- Swelling and pains that persist after 1 to 2 weeks.
- Bleeding that is bright red and goes on for more than 2 days.
- Bone graft dislodgement due to blowing your nose or sneezing.
- Fever from an infection.
Cost of Sinus Lifts
Sinus lifts cost differently in various countries and based on the hospitals and surgeons. The cost is also affected by factors such as the type of bone graft used, the size of the area and bone graft, the additional cost of medications and scans, etc. Estimates state that the price ranges from $1800 to $4000.