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Sinus Lift


Older woman in chair with doctor and X-rayThe maxilla or the upper jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas for dental surgery due to its low bone density and proximity to the sinuses. If you lost bone in that area due to lost teeth or periodontal disease, you might be left without enough bone to perform dental implant surgery. Sinus surgery can help fix this problem.

Why Would You Need a Sinus Lift?


If your sinuses are too close to your upper jaw, we at Tualatin Family & Cosmetic Dentistry may recommend a sinus lift. Below are the reasons why:
•  Because of the anatomy of the skull, the back of the upper jaw has lower bone density than the mandible or the lower jaw. Hence, people who have lost teeth on their upper jaw - particularly the upper molars - may not have enough bone to support dental implants.
•  The bone structure may have become deteriorated due to periodontal disease.
•  Tooth loss also causes bone resorption. Due to missing tooth roots, the bone begins to get absorbed into your body over time.
•  The shape and size of the sinus are different for every person. Your sinus may be too close to your upper jaw for implants to be placed. People also develop larger sinuses as they age.

Preparing for a Sinus Lift


The bone graft for a sinus lift may come from your body, from a cadaver, or an animal, like a cow. If you want to use your bone, the graft may typically be taken from the bone beneath your knee or your hip.

Dr. Emerson Rowley, DMD may also make a comprehensive examination of your jaw using digital x-rays or computed tomography. This will help them determine the density of your existing bone and the health of your sinuses.

Sinus Lift Surgery Procedure


We will first cut a small hole over the gum tissue where your upper molars used to be. Once the bone is exposed, we will cut a small window into it to expose the sinus membrane, which separates the sinus from your jaw. This membrane is gently lifted up and away from your jaw to make room for the grafted bone.

Small granules of bone material are then packed into the space, and the incision is stitched closed. It will take about four to nine months for your wound to heal and for the grafted bone to integrate with your upper jawbone.

What to Expect After a Sinus Lift Surgery


You will experience swelling and pain in the surgical site. You may also bleed from your mouth or nose. Do not sneeze or clear your nose forcefully as it could dislodge the bone graft material and open up your stitches.

We will prescribe you a saline spray, pain medication, antibiotics, and an antibacterial mouthwash to keep your mouth clean and prevent infection. After 7 to 10 days, we will evaluate the surgical site and remove your stitches. In some cases, the stitches will have dissolved on their own.

Risks of a Sinus Lift Surgery


•  The biggest risk is of the sinus membrane being torn during the procedure. If that happens, we can stitch it back and allow it time to heal. A healed sinus membrane is thicker and stronger, so a second attempt has a much better chance of success.
•  In very rare cases, the grafted material does not fuse with the jawbone and does not develop a blood supply. In this case, you can have the bone grafting procedure again. Otherwise, the dental implant surgery will fail.
•  Like all surgeries, there is a risk of infection, though this is of minimal concern in sinus lifts.

If pain, bleeding and swelling becomes worse over time or you suspect the bone graft material has moved from its place, call us at (503) 878-7474 to schedule an appointment at the earliest.
Tualatin Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

(503) 878-7474
8555 SW Tualatin Rd, Tualatin, OR

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