What's Involved in a Sinus Lift?

It’s no wonder that 500,000 individuals choose dental implants to restore missing teeth each year. That’s right! One-half million people receive dental implants annually, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Dental implants are aesthetically pleasing, strong, dependable — and allow you to speak clearly and eat comfortably. 

In order to have a strong foundation for your implant, you’ll need ample jaw bone. But sometimes there isn’t quite enough jaw bone on your upper jaw to receive an implant. 

In those cases, you’re not necessarily out of luck. One of the experienced providers at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery may suggest a sinus lift, a surgical procedure that allows you to receive a dental implant. Not everyone requires a sinus lift prior to receiving an implant, so if you’re interested in an implant, we can help you get the answers you need.

Understanding your sinuses

According to the experts at WebMD, your sinuses help add humidity to the air you breathe. They also affect the tone and uniqueness of your voice. But what are the sinuses? Your sinuses are small, air-filled sacs. You have four-pairs: frontal, sphenoid, ethmoid, and maxillary sinuses. The maxillary sinuses are the largest, and they are located in your cheeks. It’s the maxillary sinuses that are involved during a sinus lift.

What happens during a sinus lift?

The goal of a sinus lift is to lift up your maxillary sinus to make room for a bone graft, so you have enough bone to support a dental implant. While individual surgeries may vary depending on your needs, the basic steps are as follows:

Expose the jaw bone 

This is done with a small incision. This step is necessary because it allows access to the sinus membrane and the jaw bone.

Push up the sinus 

Next, the sinus membrane — that’s the maxillary sinus — is gently pushed up to create more space for the bone graft. 

Add bone graft material 

Bone graft material is what gives you the foundation for your implant. Bone graft material can vary, but common materials include bone from your own body (such as your hip bone) or a donor. You can also use synthetic bone graft material.

Stitch up the incision

Once the bone graft material is applied, the incision will be stitched. Once the stitches are placed, you’ll begin the healing process. It can take anywhere from three to six months for your jaw bone to heal — which includes the creation of new, healthy jaw bone. Once your jaw bone is healed, you’ll come back for your implant.

Depending on your specific health needs, it’s possible that your implant can be placed during the same procedure.  

When to consider a sinus lift 

You won’t know if you need a sinus lift by just looking at your jaw. When you come to our clinic, we’ll conduct a comprehensive exam, including any necessary 3D imaging. We may suggest a sinus lift if you want dental implants, but you have a weak or damaged jaw bone.

Restore your smile 

Dental implants can restore your smile, boost your confidence, and help you eat comfortably. If you’re unsure of your next steps, we can help! 

To request an appointment in one of our three locations — Burke, Reston, or Alexandria — call the location of your choice today. You can also book an appointment online.

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