What is Sinus Lift Surgery? – Its Importance in Dental Implant

Implants are always placed in the jaw bone that has good quality and quantity to increase the success of the implant placement. The upper jaw is one of the trickiest locations for implant placement, as it is close to the sinus. Some dental diseases, such as periodontal problems and tooth loss, may compromise the quantity and quality of the jaw bone, primarily in the area near the sinus. In such cases, sinus lift surgery is required to raise the sinus floor and allow bone development.

Typically, a sinus lift is a surgical procedure in which the sinus floor is raised to accommodate the bone graft material. The site is then closed and allowed to heal so that the bone graft material can regenerate and form new bone for implant placement. Sinus lift surgery has a significant impact on the success rate of the implants. It increases the longevity of the implants. Today’s article will highlight the procedure of sinus lift forgery. Furthermore, we will discuss the cost of sinus lift surgery.

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What is sinus lift surgery?

The maxillary sinus is one of the closest sinuses to the teeth. Sometimes, people with a sinus infection, cold or flu experience toothache. This happens when the pressure from the sinus transfers to the tooth roots in the upper jaw. (1)

Sinus lift surgery is an invasive procedure in which the sinus membrane is lifted upwards to create additional space for the bone graft that can be used for implant placement. This technique is also termed as ‘maxillary sinus floor augmentation’ or ‘sinus graft.’ (2)

Why is sinus lift surgery performed?

A sinus lift surgery is typically performed when there is an insufficient bone in the upper jaw, specifically for implant placement. Some of the scenarios where sinus lift surgery may be required include –

  • When a traumatic accident or difficult extraction previously injures the jaw bone
  • Removal of a cyst or tumor that causes loss of bone
  • Bone loss due to periodontal disease
  • Tooth loss resulting in bone loss
  • Large sinus cavity with a thin jaw bone (3)

Although sinus lift surgery is a relatively common dental procedure, not everyone would require this surgery.

What is the procedure for the sinus lift?

First, an oral surgeon determines the necessity of sinus lift surgery by examining the dental condition and x-ray studies. CT scans might also help to assess the current jaw condition and determine the suitability of the patient for sinus lift surgery. Next, the dentist decides the source for a bone graft. Usually, the bone graft can be taken from the following places –

  • From another part of the bone, hip or leg (4)
  • From another donor
  • Cow bone
  • Synthetic bone graft such as hydroxyapatite

During the surgical procedure, the dentist makes a small incision in the gums and exposes the bone. A small window is cut into the bone and removed to get access to the sinus cavity. The sinus membrane is then lifted, and space is created to fill it with the bone graft material. The gums are sutured back, and the site is allowed to heal.

Recovery period

Some patients often experience slight swelling and pain around the site of surgery. Bleeding from the mouth or nose may also occur in some instances. During this time, it is essential to take proper care of the healing site in the following ways –

  • Continue the prescribed medicines to prevent infection of the sinus
  • Be careful while sneezing or blowing your nose so that the stitches do not get dislodged

Usually, you must visit the dentist within 7-10 days to check the healing process. Moreover, you can get the stitches removed after a week of the surgery. (5) Implants are usually placed after 4-9 months of sinus lift surgery. However, it depends on the type of bone graft material used. In some cases, the implant may be placed immediately after the sinus lift surgery.

A clinical study showed that the success rate of the implant was lower in patients who had a residual bone height of 4mm or less. A dentist is the best person to determine the right time for implant placement, especially in cases of a sinus lift. (6)

What is the cost of sinus lift surgery?

Usually, the cost of sinus lift surgery depends on the complexity of the procedure, the type of bone graft material used, and the experience of the dentist. On average, the cost of sinus lift surgery ranges between $1500 – $5000.

Most dental insurance provide full or partial coverage for sinus lift surgery along with implant placement. You can consult your insurance provider to check if your insurance covers the cost of treatment. Moreover, you can talk to your dentist for discount plans or offers to cut down the cots of treatment.

Take away message

Sinus lift surgery is an invasive dental procedure that is primarily performed to place implants in locations that do not have enough bone structure to support the implant. It is typically done in the upper jaw where the bone is thin and close to the sinus. Some of the common cases where sinus lift is required include bone loss due to periodontal disease or traumatic accident, large sinus cavity, or tooth loss leading to bone loss.

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This procedure involves the surgical exposure of the sinus cavity. The membrane is lifted to accommodate bone graft material, and the gums are sutured back to allow proper healing. The dentist determines the healing rate of sinus surgery. Moreover, he decides the right time for implant placement. Most dental insurance covers the cost of sinus lift surgery. However, you can consult your insurance provider ad the dentist for beneficial plans to cut down the cost of treatment.

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