Why You Might Need a Sinus Lift

Your teeth and your jawbone have a mutually strengthened relationship. The bone supports the tooth, and the tooth stimulates the bone, helping it to remain strong.

When you lose a tooth, the bone’s lack of stimulation can cause the body to remove it. In your upper jaw, this can cause your sinuses to expand. Your sinuses are hollow spaces that underlie much of your face between your mouth and your eyes. They’re right above your upper jaw, so when your body removes bone from the jaw, the sinus fills in the free space. This means that the sinus membrane now borders the entire larger space.

Once the sinus descends, your implant dentist can’t simply put a dental implant there. There might not be enough bone to support the implant. In addition, the implant could puncture your sinus membrane, creating opportunities for serious infection of either the sinus or implant.

It’s also possible to lose bone mass to an infection–such as gum disease–or injury. No matter why you lost the bone, a sinus lift procedure lets your implant dentist safely restore the bone necessary to support your dental implant.

How a Sinus Augmentation Works

Although there are several approaches to sinus augmentation, this is a description of the one that we most commonly use.

First, your implant dentist will make an incision in your gums to expose the bone. Then, your implant dentist cuts a small part out of the bone. The implant dentist can use the small piece of bone they cut to gently push up on the sinus membrane. This creates space that the implant dentist can fill with bone graft material.

What happens next depends on how much bone you had before the augmentation. If you had a good amount of bone, and the sinus augmentation is something of a precaution, you can get your dental implant placed right away into the hole your dentist used to push up the sinus membrane. Otherwise, you will have to wait several months to allow the bone graft material to integrate before getting a dental implant there. In that case, your implant dentist will close up the surgical site by stitching your gums closed.

Recovery from Sinus Augmentation

After your sinus augmentation, you may experience minor discomfort. It’s typically controllable with over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications. In some cases, your implant dentist might prescribe pain medication, antibiotics, or even a nasal spray.

You’ll experience swelling and potentially even bruising near the surgical site. Swelling and discomfort may worsen for the first few days, and then diminish. You can apply an ice pack to the cheek near the surgical site to help control swelling, discomfort, and bruising.

Most of the time, you’ll feel completely back to normal within a few weeks, even though the bone graft will take much longer to fully integrate.

Risks of Sinus Augmentation

It’s possible that the sinus membrane might tear as your implant dentist is trying to push it upward. When this occurs, the dentist will try to close the tear with sutures or a patch. If your dentist can’t repair the tear, they may have to stop the surgery and try again after the puncture heals, typically in a few months.

Infection is always a risk in any surgery. This is relatively rare. Even more rare–but possible–is that an infection could force your implant dentist to remove the graft and could threaten surrounding tissues.

It’s also possible that the graft won’t generate enough bone to support your dental implant. This is more likely in smokers but could happen to anyone.

Contact our office if you experience:

  • Persistent bleeding for more than a day after surgery
  • Pain and swelling that increases after a few days
  • Foul-smelling or foul-tasting discharge from the surgical site or nose
  • Fever
  • Persistent bleeding for more than a day after surgery
  • Pain and swelling that increases after a few days
  • Foul-smelling or foul-tasting discharge from the surgical site or nose
  • Fever

Overall, complications are rare, but they can lead to a loss of the graft and/or implant, so it’s important to be vigilant and act quickly if you suspect a problem.

Get Sinus Augmentation in Torrance, CA

If you are looking to get dental implants in your upper jaw and you need a sinus augmentation, the dentists at PermaDent can help. We have the expertise and experience to handle this procedure accurately and reliably.

Please call (310) 325-9969 or use our online form today to request an appointment at our office in Torrance, CA.