A maxillary sinus graft or lift is a surgery that adds bone to your upper jaw in the area of your molars and premolars. This surgery is often referred to as a sinus augmentation.
The bone is added between your jaw and your maxillary sinuses which are located either side of your nose – during this process, the sinus membrane has to be moved upwards.
In the last 15 years, sinus lifts have became more and more common as people are more likely to now get implants to replace their missing teeth.
Why would you need one?
You may require a sinus graft when you are opting for dental implants but there isn’t enough bone height in your upper jaw or that the sinuses are too close to the jaw for dental implants to be fitted. There are various reasons why individuals may have a sinus graft due to dental implants, these are;
- Those who have lost teeth (particularly back teeth or molars) may not have enough bone for the implants to be placed because the back of the upper jaw has less bone than the lower jaw, due to the anatomy of the skull. If you have been living with tooth loss for a while, there is often not enough bone left to place the implants.
- Bone may have been lost due to Gum Disease.
- The maxillary sinus may be too close to the upper jaw for the implants to be placed and fitted properly. The shape of the sinus varies from person to person, it can also get larger as you age.
What is the process?
The bone used during your sinus graft may come from your own body, a cadaver (allogenic bone) or from a cow bone (xenograft). If you are using bone from your own body, then it would usually be taken from other areas in your mouth or body.
X-rays will be taken from your dentists so that they can identify the study the anatomy of your jaw and sinus, you may also need a CT scan (computed tomography) this allows your dentist to measure the height and width of your existing bone accurately and also to evaluate the health of your sinus.
During this process, gum tissue will be cut where your back teeth used to be and will be lifted exposing the bone. When a small opening has been created, the membrane lining is gently pushed up and away from your jaw. Once the bone is in place, the tissue is stitched up ready for your implants to be placed about 4-9 months later. This allows time for the graft to mesh with your bone, the amount of time depends on how much bone was needed.
After the procedure, you may show signs of swelling in the grafted area as well as potentially bleeding from your mouth or your nose; you don’t need to worry as it is usual for this to happen. If it is happening more frequently than you think it should, it’s recommended to visit your dentist.
What are the risks?
The most common and main risk of a sinus graft is that the sinus membrane could be punctured or torn.
In this case, during the procedure the tear or puncture will be stitched up and will have a patch placed over it. Although, if the repair isn’t successful then you may have to wait a few months until the tear or puncture is fully healed.
Another risk may include infection, this is the same for any dental procedure, however this rarely occurs after a sinus graft/lift.
When the existing bone doesn’t integrate with the new placed bone material, and the grafted area doesn’t develop a blood supply. If this is the case, any implants placed in this area will fail, as there is no live bone for them to attach to. Although, it is very rare that would happen.
If you think you may need a maxillary sinus graft or would like further information, don’t hesitate to contact Mark Tangri Dental on 0333 1234 999.
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