Whether it be due to an injury, or some form of periodontal gum disease, patients may experience moderate to severe bone loss of the jaw. In these types of instances, patients will often require some form of a bone graft procedure – the sinus lift procedure has become one of the most common forms of a bone grafting procedure.

What is the Sinus Lift?
Sinus lift surgery is a procedure that is used to add bone tissue to the patient’s upper jaw, near the molar and premolar area. Sometimes referred to as a sinus augmentation, this procedure adds bone tissue between the jaw and maxillary sinuses – located on either of the patient’s nose. In order to make room for the additional bone tissue, the location of the sinus membrane has to be adjusted, moved upwards and “lifted” away from its original location.

Why is the Sinus Lift Used?
Often, due to some type of trauma injury, or due to some form of periodontal gum disease, patients will lose bone matter from their upper jaw area – this impedes a dental implant from being placed. In order to combat this issue, a sinus lift procedure is often performed.

The main reasons for the sinus lift procedure include:

  • The fact that the upper jaw has less bone matter than the lower jaw overall – and those who may have lost their back teeth or molars may not have enough bone matter left to successfully place a dental implant.
  • Periodontal Gum Disease
  • Reabsorption of bone tissue into the body. When teeth are lost often, bone matter is absorbed by the body.
  • The patient’s maxillary sinuses may just be too close to the jaw, preventing the placement of a dental implant. The size and shape of the sinus differs from person to person, and in many cases it will continue to grow larger as the patient ages.

Where Does the Graft Come From?
As with other bone graft procedures, the graft itself can come from a few different sources, including:

  • The patient’s own body or even the face – autogenous bone matter.
  • A cadaver – allogeneic bone matter.
  • Or from an animal, such as a cow – a xenograft.
  • Synthetic Bone Graft – Made in a laboratory.

The procedure begins with the use of local anesthesia, in order to numb the area in which the procedure will be taking place. Once the area is numbed, the surgeon will then cut a through the gum tissue where the back teeth formerly existed. Once the incision is made, the gum is lifted in order to expose more bone tissue. Then a small circular cut is made into the bone, allowing us access to the membrane on the other side of the jaw. This membrane separates your sinus from your jaw, and once we have access to it, we can then push it upwards, so that it is “lifted” up and out of the way.

Once the sinus membrane is lifted up and away from the jaw, the bone graft is then added in its place. The amount of bone matter used for each graft will vary based upon the patient’s needs and the will usually allow the membrane to sit several millimeters above the jaw area. Once everything is in place, the area is closed with stitches and the bone graft is left to grow in place on its own. After several months, most often 5-9 months, the implant can be added, as the bone graft has been fully affixed to the bone and created enough full functional bone tissue for the implant to be added.

Patients can expect to experience some swelling and certain side effects to the procedure. During your recovery time, it is important to follow any and all directions given to you by Dr. Malakov as he will provide you with important tips and follow up appointments to monitor your recovery.