One of the procedures that can be done at Vero Implants and Periodontics is a sinus augmentation or a sinus lift. In certain circumstances where dental implants are going to be inserted, a sinus augmentation must first be done to properly prepare the mouth for the implementation.
What is a Sinus Augmentation?
A sinus augmentation is a surgery that adds bone to the upper jaw in the area around the molars and premolars. The bone is added on either side of the nose, between the jaw and maxillary sinuses. In order to do this, the sinus membrane needs to be moved upward or lifted in order to make room for the bone.
When Is a Sinus Augmentation Performed?
If there’s not enough bone height in the upper jaw for the implants, a sinus augmentation must be done. Another reason may be if the sinuses are too close to the jaw to place dental implants. There are several reasons why this procedure must be performed. Many of those that have lost their teeth in the upper jaw don’t have enough bone remaining to have implants, especially with their back teeth or molars. Due to the anatomy of the skull, the back of the upper jaw already has less bone than the lower jaw. Bone may also be lost due to periodontal disease. The loss of a tooth can lead to bone loss as once the teeth are gone, the bone will absorb back into the body. So if someone has teeth missing for a long period of time, there usually won’t be enough bone left to place the implants. Another problem might be that the maxillary sinus could be too close to the jaw for the implants. While the size and shape of the sinus varies by person, it can become larger with age. This procedure has become common over the past 15 years for people looking to get dental implants to replace their missing teeth.
Preparation for Sinus Augmentation
The bone that’s used for the sinus augmentation can be an autogenous bone that comes from your own body, an allogeneic bone that comes from a cadaver, or a xenograft that comes from cow bone. If the bone used is an autogenous bone, it’ll be taken from either other areas of the mouth or other areas of the body. In some cases, the bone has been removed from the hip or tibia, the bone just beneath the knee.
Prior to the sinus augmentation, you will need x-rays so that the doctor can study the anatomy of your specific jaw and sinus. You may also need a special type of computed tomography (CT) scan. This will allow the doctor to accurately measure the height and width of the existing bone and to evaluate the health of the sinus. It’s important to note that if you have seasonal allergies the procedure should be scheduled when they’re not active.
Performing the Procedure
The surgeon will begin the procedure by cutting the gum tissue where the back teeth used to be. The tissue is then raised to expose the bone creating a small, oval opening in the bone. The membrane that lines the sinus on the other side of the opening separating the sinus from the jaw is gently pushed up and away from the jaw. Granules of bone graft material are then packed into the space where the sinus previously was. The amount of bone that will be used varies based on each situation but there is usually several millimeters of bone added above the jaw.
Once the bone is in place, the tissue is closed with stitching to complete the procedure. Typically implants won’t be placed for another four to nine months after the sinus augmentation takes place. This is because time is needed for the grafted material to mesh with the bone. Another factor in the amount of time between the augmentation and the implementation is the amount of bone added.
What to Expect After the Procedure
Following the procedure you can expect some swelling in the area where the augmentation took place. You may also bleed from the mouth or nose so don’t blow your nose or sneeze forcefully as this could cause the bone graft material to move or loosen the stitches. You may be provided some saline spray that will help to keep the inner lining of the nose wet. You may also be prescribed medication to prevent congestion and inflammation or pain medication such as antibiotic or antimicrobial mouthwash to prevent any potential infection. Most patients will only have minimal discomfort following the procedure.
After a week to 10 days, you’ll visit a specialist who will evaluate the surgical site and remove the stitches if they haven’t dissolved yet. You may have to return for more follow-up appointments to ensure that the area is healing properly. Following the procedure, it will take several months for the bony material to harden and to integrate with the jaw. Implants can be placed anywhere between four and nine months depending on the grafting material used.
If you’re in need of dental implants, there’s a possibility that you may first need a sinus augmentation to prepare the bone for the implants. This is a necessary procedure that will ensure that the placing of dental implants is a success. If you’re in need of periodontal work, a sinus augmentation is just one of many procedures available at Vero Implants and Periodontics.