During your dental implant consultation, your oral surgeon may inform you that you need a sinus augmentation before the implants can be placed. Learn more about this procedure and why it is being recommended.
Taking a Closer Look at Sinus Augmentation
Sinus augmentation, which is sometimes called a sinus lift, is a surgical procedure that thickens the layer of bone in the upper jaw usually in the area where the premolars and molars are located. The layer of bone is thickened by surgically adding additional bone. The additional bone can come either from other parts of your body, a cow bone, or a cadaver.
A sinus augmentation is needed when the bone of the upper jaw has thinned. If the bone has thinned too much there won’t be enough material to properly support and anchor the post of a dental implant. The sinus augmentation procedure adds and strengthens existing upper jaw bone so a dental implant can be placed.
Reasons Upper Jaw Bone is Lost or Thinned
There are a number of reasons why the upper jaw bone is too thin to support a dental implant. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Natural thin bone structure – some individuals are just born with a thinner or weaker upper jaw bone
- Bone loss due to periodontal disease
- Bone loss due to teeth in the back of the mouth being removed and not replaced for a number of years
- Age related issues – the older you get, the larger your sinuses get which means the bone in the upper jaw becomes thinner
- Health issues – some illnesses and medications cause the weakening of the body’s bones
How to Prepare for a Sinus Augmentation
Before a sinus augmentation can be performed your oral surgeon will take x-rays and may even require you to have a CT scan. These scans and x-rays are needed so your surgeon can measure the width, height and thickness of your existing bone. These scans, images, and tests can also help your surgeon asses the health of your bone. All this information will help your surgeon determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants and if you are in need of a sinus augmentation.
A sinus augmentation is a surgical procedure. There may be some prep involved before your appointment. Some of the preparation required may include finding a driver to take you home after the procedure, stopping certain medications, and not eating after a certain time. Your oral surgeon and his or her staff will provide you with detailed pre-procedure instructions.
The actual procedure involves doing the following:
- Cutting a small incision in the location where the new bone will need to be placed – this usually is done in the back of the mouth
- Bone is exposed by slightly pushing back and raising the newly cut tissue
- Lining of the sinus is gently pushed away from the jaw
- New bone is tightly packed into the area where the sinus cavity is
- Tissue exposing the bone is then smoothed down and stitches are placed
What to Expect After the Sinus Augmentation Procedure
There is a relatively lengthy recovery period that will occur after the sinus augmentation. It can take anywhere from four months to a year for you to fully heal from the procedure. After you have fully healed and the bone is strengthened, you will be able to proceed with the next step of the dental implant procedure – placing the dental implant posts.
Some things you expect to experience immediately after a sinus augmentation procedure include:
- Slight pain in the area near the surgical site
- Swelling in the facial area
- Teeth sensitivity
- Restrictions placed on the activities you take part in and the food you can eat
Thinking of replacing missing teeth with dental implants? Call Vero VIP Implants & Periodontics to schedule a consultation. This consultation will give you a better idea if you are a good candidate for dental implants and whether or not you may need a sinus augmentation or bone graft.