The sinus lift procedure – what and why?
If you have lost bone in your upper jaw, you may need a Sinus Lift and Augmentation procedure. The sinus lift is a simple procedure that is designed to raise the sinus floor above your molars and premolars. This involves lifting the sinus membrane to make room for new bone growth.
The procedure is normally needed when you have lost teeth, and the bone that supported then has atrophied and lost substance over time. This is especially important if you have suffered a period of oral infection, as this often exacerbates bone loss.
A sinus lift procedure is often carried out as part of a dental implant surgery, so it doesn’t prolong your dental treatment at all. This is the case with the majority of our patients, however in some extreme cases where there is severe bone loss, the surgery needs to take place up to nine months before any dental implants can be fitted.
Is a sinus lift always needed when having dental implants?
In short, no. A sinus lift is only necessary when bone loss has occurred in the upper jaw. There is no hard and fast rule saying which patients will need a sinus lift and which won’t. Instead, we advise patients on an individual basis to see if they need the procedure. We can do this via email if a panoramic x-ray or a CT scan is attached.
We aim to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours on working days (Monday-Friday)
How is the sinus lift done?
A sinus lift is performed by opening up a flap in the side of your mouth between the cheek and gum that exposes the bone. An opening is then made through the bone and into the sinus cavity. We are very careful here to make sure that the membrane lining the sinus cavity isn’t damaged or punctured in any way. Once this opening is made, the sinus cavity is delicately lifted away from the jaw. The exposed space above the jaw is then packed with graft material and the wound is closed.
Over the six month recovery period the new bone will grow and provide a secure anchor for the dental implants. The whole procedure is done under both a local anaesthetic and a deep sedation so you won’t feel a thing.
After your sinus lift procedure is complete you will experience some swelling and soreness. This usually only lasts a few days, and can be combated with ordinary over the counter painkillers. However during the healing process you will need to be careful about sneezing and blowing your nose, as this could dislodge the graft material and cause complications.
What material is used?
In rare cases the procedure will need to be carried out in hospital, where you will need an extra operation to remove some bone needed for the graft. This will often be harvested from your hip or another part of your body.
This is not the case with most patients however. Usually we can encourage the bone to re-grow naturally using a process known as Guided Tissue Regeneration (GTR). To do this we use materials collected from around the sinus lift wound mixed with a synthetic compound. We then paste this mixture into the space below your sinus membrane, where it aids and encourages the bone to grow.
We strongly discourage people undergoing this procedure away from home, and is not a service that we provide for patients travelling from abroad.
Are there any risks?
As with all surgery there are inherent risks to the sinus lift procedure. The common complication to occur during a sinus lift is a punctured or torn sinus membrane. If this happens then the surgeon is easily able to repair it, but this would delay the rest of the sinus lift as the wound needs to heal before the procedure can be finished.
Another risk in any surgical procedure is infection. Here we have strict standards of hygiene, and the sinus lift patients are regularly given antibiotics as a precautionary measure to prevent infection.
We are happy to say that we have a 100% success rate when it comes to negating risk factors. None of our patients in the past six years have ever experienced such problems, and we intend to uphold this standard.