So you want to get a dental implant, but don’t have enough jawbone for it. Don’t worry—you have several options. And while you can choose less-invasive procedures to compensate for tooth loss, there is still a way to get dental implants despite your limited amount of jawbone. This procedure is called bone grafting. Here, the bone graft material is added to the target area so the dental implant can anchor onto the bone. One of the more popular types of bone grafting is the sinus lift procedure, usually reserved for those who lack bone in the upper jaw. But what is a sinus lift? And when should you get one?
When you experience tooth loss in the upper jaw, the area begins to shrink. When this happens, your maxillary sinuses begin to protrude where the bone used to be. That’s because your sinus cavity rests on that section of the upper jawbone. When that bone shrinks, then, your maxillary sinuses lose their support and begin to sag. To replace bone in that area, you first need to bring up the sinuses.
What is a sinus lift, then? It’s a procedure that literally “lifts” the sinus cavity so your dentist can add bone graft material to your upper jawbone. There are also different types of sinus lifts, which depends on the condition.
That said, let’s look a little into what is a sinus lift and what the types of sinus lifts are.
What is a sinus lift?
As we mentioned earlier, a sinus lift is an operation that helps you add bone to the upper jawbone. When you get a dental implant, you have to make sure the implant doesn’t hit or disrupt the sinus membrane. If it does, it can cause some severe complications in the future. You can imagine how hard it is to get an implant if you’ve got a shrunken upper jaw. And it’s notoriously easy to get tooth loss around the area.
To prevent these complications, your dentist might opt for a sinus lift to fix the problem. Before getting a sinus lift procedure, they might need to scan your jaw to see what they’ll have to work with. Your dentist will then ready the bone graft material for the procedure, whether it comes from your own body or other sources. While it might sound like nightmare fuel, your dentist makes sure that all these materials are safe for use, so you don’t have to suffer any horrific consequences.
What are the types of sinus lifts?
Depending on your case, you can either take the invasive or less-invasive route. That said, there are two types of sinus lifts so far:
- Using osteotomes. While your dentist still makes an incision, this dental technique doesn’t require a full-blown surgery to work. Instead, after cutting into a bit of the gum, your dentist will then place osteotomes into the area, which are later tapped up to lift the sinus membrane. From there, your dentist places the bone graft material to help push the membrane up further.
- Using the window technique. A more common way to lift up the maxillary sinuses is the window technique, where your dentist cuts into the bone and creates a “window” where the sinus lags. From there, your dentist pushes up the window to lift the sinus membrane, then adds bone graft material.