You may never have heard the term “sinus lift,” but it is a dental procedure that has become more common in recent years. Dr. Blake Perkins, who practices dentistry with New Image Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Vancouver, Washington, explains sinus lifts and why they are needed in this report
The most common reason for performing the sinus lift procedure is to prepare a patient’s mouth for a dental implant. Dr. Perkins explains that a sinus lift may be needed when the bone in the jaw is too thin to support a dental implant. The sinus lift adds bone graft material to push up the sinus over the thin spot so as to provide a solid base for an implant.
Dr. Perkins says the two most common methods of achieving the desired result are through a sinus bump or a lateral sinus lift. The bump approach is often used just after a tooth extraction. Bone graft material is inserted into the socket of the tooth and pushed up into the space, gently lifting the sinus membrane. The lateral approach requires the dentist to make a small window into the bone of the upper jaw just above where the roots of the teeth are. This allows the dentist to lift up the sinus membrane. Then, the bone graft material is inserted, the membrane is laid back into place, the window is closed, and the gum is stitched shut.
The bone graft material used is the same as would be used in any other bone graft, Dr. Perkins explains. This might be a synthetic bone alternative or bone harvested from human sources. [Note: see the earlier report by Dr. Perkins on bone grafts.]
After the procedure, Dr. Perkins usually sends the patient home with some pain relievers, antibiotics to prevent any sinus infection, and a decongestant or antihistamine to help the patient avoid sneezing or congestion while the sinus lift site is healing. As to risks, Dr. Perkins points out that the risk factor is very low, the biggest one being that the graft does not take. Another risk is that the graft is disturbed by some sort of infection or a sneeze that tears the sinus membrane, allowing bone graft pieces to enter the sinus cavity. In most cases, though, the procedure works as planned, and the sinus lift site heals properly, leaving a good bed of bone to accept a tooth implant.
Dr. Blake Perkins is with New Image Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Vancouver, Washington. He is a graduate of the Case Western Reserve School of Dentistry. Dr. Perkins spent several years as an Air Force dentist and trained with specialists from all aspects of dentistry. He still serves his country through the Air National Guard. The Health & Wellness Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.