Decades ago, dentures were the only way to replace missing teeth. Now, there is the option of having dental implants in Los Angeles surgically inserted. In some cases, patients need a sinus lift beforehand, but why? Continue reading to get the answer and discover how the procedure works.
The Purpose of a Sinus Lift
For dental implantation to be successful, there must be enough healthy jawbone for the implant to fuse (called osseointegration). With that in mind, it should be noted that prolonged tooth loss can contribute to jawbone resorption.
The sinus lift makes way for bone matter to be added to the upper jaw to increase its density. The procedure is especially useful for patients who are having teeth replaced in the upper arch.
Here are some other reasons a sinus lift may be needed:
- The jawbone has previously been damaged.
- A cyst or tumor has been removed from the area.
- There has been bone loss as a result of periodontitis (gum disease).
- The sinus cavity is abnormally large, or the jawbone is thin.
Preparation for a Sinus Lift
The first step is for the dentist to take X-ray images and, perhaps, CT scans to assess the current condition of the jaw. Based on the information, he or she will determine whether a sinus lift is needed.
The grafted bone can be sourced from the following places:
- Cow bone
- A synthetic material such as hydroxyapatite
- Another human (may be donated from deceased people)
- The patient’s body (either from a different part of the mouth or another area of the body – often the chin or hip)
How the Sinus Lift Works
There are typically a number of anesthetic options available, ranging from local and general anesthesia, to intravenous or nitrous oxide sedation. The procedure, which can take 90 to 120 minutes to complete, starts with the dentist making an incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone underneath. Most commonly, the dentist cuts a small window-like opening into the bone and pushes it up to reveal the sinus cavity. Next, the cavity membrane is lifted and the space below is filled with granules of the bone graft material. The dentist completes the procedure by stitching the gum tissue.
The usual healing time is around two to three days. Patients typically have to wait six months after having a sinus lift performed to undergo dental implantation.
There is no guarantee that you’ll need to have a sinus lift performed. However, the only way to know for sure is to visit a dentist in Los Angeles for a consultation. Not only will this eliminate the need for guessing, but it will place you on the road to a healthy and attractive smile!
About the Author
Dr. Les Latner earned his dental degree from Washington University in St. Louis. With over 30 years of experience in dentistry, he has helped hundreds of patients experience the absolute best in dental health. As part of his commitment to excellence, Dr. Latner has earned the distinction of Master of the Academy of General Dentistry. He performs sinus lifts and places dental implants at Westside Dental Associates, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.