If you have recently inquired about dental implants to replace your upper back teeth, your implant dentist may have recommended you have a sinus lift or sinus augmentation. This is a special type of bone graft for dental implants that is designed to add bone in your upper jaw around the region of your back teeth. The bone is added in between your jawbone and your sinuses that are located on either side of your nose. There is a membrane in between the jawbone and your sinuses that has to be “lifted” or moved upwards and out of the way to make room for the additional bone to be added. This type of surgery is quite specialized which is why it’s often carried out by an oral surgeon or a periodontist.
Why Might You Need Bone Grafting?
While dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth, they do have particular requirements, one of which is having sufficient height in your jawbone to support the implant post which is quite long. Quite often people who have lost their upper back teeth will not have sufficient height to support the implants. This could be due to their anatomy as this area of the jawbone tends to have less bone than the lower jaw, but bone may have been lost due to other reasons. Bone can be destroyed by periodontal disease which is advanced gum disease, and if teeth were lost quite some time ago then there’s a strong possibility that bone will have become reabsorbed, leaving an inadequate amount to support the dental implants. In addition, the shape and size of sinuses can vary from person to person and it is not unusual for sinuses to get larger with age. The good news is that sinus lift surgery is incredibly common and extremely successful.
Sinus Augmentation Materials
The bone used during dental bone grafts can come from a variety of different sources. It may be taken from another location in your body or it can be donor bone which would have come from a human or bovine source and which will have been very thoroughly sterilized. However it’s becoming more common for the bone to be artificial. There are several advantages in using artificial bone as there is no need for additional surgery for the bone to be taken from elsewhere in your body and because it is artificial it can also be modified to contain proteins that help encourage the growth of your own bone cells, creating an extremely strong and stable platform for your dental implants.
Safety of a Sinus Lift Surgery
Here at D & D Periodontal Associates, we do take a great deal of time and trouble to plan each sinus lift surgery extremely carefully. Before your surgery we will take detailed x-rays and a CT scan so we can see the size and shape and the location of your sinuses. This enables us to plan surgery so the whole process will be very smooth and trouble-free. It may even be possible for us to place the dental implants at the same time, depending on the amount of bone that needs to be grafted.