Sinus Lifts & Augmentation
When do I need a sinus lift? Do all implants need them?
If you’re considering getting dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth in your upper jaw, a procedure called a sinus lift may be necessary if you lack sufficient bone mass in your upper jaw to hold dental implants securely.
If you find yourself in that situation, you’ll want to know a lot about sinus lifts – a procedure you’ve probably never heard of before.
Even if you currently have a full set of healthy upper teeth, you might still be curious about sinus lifts – given that tooth loss among older people in Singapore is prevalent.
In this article, we’ll be looking in some detail at the sinus lift and what you can expect if you ever find yourself in need of one.
What Is A Sinus Lift?
Sinus Lifting & Augmentation
Sinus lifts have become more common as an increasing number of people choose dental implants to replace missing teeth.
A sinus lift – also called sinus augmentation – creates room in your upper jaw for a bone graft ahead of dental implant placement. This is typically necessary if you’ve lost a lot of bone or your sinuses are too close together. The surgical procedure entails raising membrane to accommodate the new bone.
Your sinuses are hollow channels behind your cheek, above your upper teeth. Some tooth roots extend up into these spaces. When these teeth are missing, there may sometimes only be a thin wall of bone left separating the mouth from the sinuses.
This bone may not provide a solid base for a dental implant. Sinus augmentation bone grafts fix this problem, and significantly increase the chance of implant success.
When Is A Sinus Lift Required?
Insufficient Bone and/or Poor Bone Quality
Many people opt for dental implants because they hold several important advantages over other tooth replacement methods such as traditional dentures and bridges.
Implants look, feel and work just like natural teeth and give you the best chance of maintaining your smile for life because they fuse with bone to become a permanent part of your jaw – an artificial tooth root.
However, insufficient quantity and quality of bone to stabilise a dental implant poses a problem, particularly at the back of the upper jaw, which is in close proximity to the sinus floor. A sinus lift addresses this issue by elevating the sinus floor to enable a bone graft prior to surgical insertion of implants.
Without the support of bone, implants would become loose or fall out completely. Furthermore, the sinus membranes run parallel to the upper jaw, and if the bone is too thin an implant procedure could damage these membranes.
There are several reasons you may need a sinus lift in preparation for a dental implant, including:
- The anatomy of your skull causes the back of the upper jaw to contain less bone than the lower jaw.
- Bone may have been destroyed by gum disease (periodontitis).
- Bone may have been absorbed back into the body if teeth have been missing for some time.
- Medical conditions including cancer.
- Your maxillary sinuses are too close to the upper jaw for implants to be inserted.
The Sinus Augmentation Procedure
Sinus Augmentation Surgery & Bone Grafting
The sinus system has several components, with the maxillary sinuses closest to our teeth. This is why you might get toothache if you have a bad cold –pressure on the sinuses transfers to tooth roots in the upper jaw.
The sinus lift procedure involves raising the maxillary sinus membrane to make space for a bone graft. That’s why it’s medically known as maxillary sinus floor augmentation.
Anaesthetic options for a sinus lift include local anaesthesia, general anaesthesia, and intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas).
The procedure usually takes 90 to 120 minutes and entails:
- Making an incision in the gum, where your teeth used to be.
- Lifting gum tissue to expose the bone.
- Opening a small area in the bone.
- Moving the membrane that lines the sinus upwards and away from the jaw.
- Placing bone graft material where the sinus was.
- Closing the tissue with stitches.
Implants are usually inserted months later to allow the graft to combine with the natural bone. The length of time depends on the amount of additional bone required.
The Sinus Lift Bone Graft
Grafting bone to the upper jaw in the area of the premolar and molar teeth is an essential part of sinus augmentation.
The bone graft fills in areas where bone is deficient or missing and acts as a supporting platform to encourage new bone growth over time, with collagen and proteins in the existing bone acting as a catalyst.
The grafted bone can come from a variety of sources. In many cases, the preferred option is to get the bone from the patient themselves (an autograft) – from another part of the mouth or from the hip or leg. This provides living tissues that helps growth and healing.
Other sources of sinus lift bone graft material include:
- Donated bone tissue when a person dies (allograft).
- Cow bone (xenograft).
- Synthetic materials such as hydroxyapatite (alloplastic graft).
All of these materials are safe and are processed and thoroughly disinfected to ensure they’re disease-free and no germs can be passed on to the recipient.
Preparing For A Sinus Lift
You’ll need X-rays or digital scans before a sinus lift so your dentist can examine the anatomy of your jaw and sinuses.
Your dental surgeon also will recommend steps you can take to prepare for a sinus lift. This advice may include:
- Quit smoking at least two weeks before the procedure.
- Stop taking any anticoagulants two weeks before surgery.
- Eat protein- and vitamin-rich foods.
- Stock up on healthy snacks for your recovery time.
After A Sinus Lift
There may be some swelling immediately after a sinus lift and bleeding from the mouth or nose. While this may be uncomfortable for a few days, most sinus lift patients don’t experience major discomfort and are back at work after two or three days.
You may be advised to take over-the-counter painkillers or given pain relief medication, and antibiotics and an antimicrobial mouthwash to protect you against infection, although infection is rare after sinus augmentation. A cold pack is also helpful in easing pain and swelling the first day or two after surgery.
Your dentist may also prescribe medicine to prevent congestion and recommend a saline spray to keep the lining of your nose lubricated.
After a sinus lift, you should contact your dental surgeon if:
- Swelling or pain worsens after a few days.
- Bleeding persists after a couple of days.
- You think you may have dislodged the bone graft by sneezing or blowing your nose.
- You get a fever.
After seven to ten days, your dentist will check on your healing progress and remove the stitches if you didn’t have dissolvable sutures.
Several more appointments may be advised during the healing process to make sure everything is going as planned.
Complete recovery after sinus augmentation takes at least six months for your sinuses to heal and the bone to become strong enough to support dental implants.
FAQs About Sinus Lifts
What To Avoid After A Sinus Lift?
After sinus lift surgery, you need to take measures to safeguard against the graft material moving and loosening the stitches.
You shouldn’t brush or floss the area for the first week after a sinus lift, and it’s important to be careful about what you eat for a few days:
- Choose soft foods and chew on the opposite side.
- Avoid hard or crunchy foods and hot foods.
It’s also important to try to avoid blowing your nose or sneezing forcefully for two to three weeks. A nasal spray, decongestant or other medication can help prevent this.
Avoid strenuous activity for at least a week.
Is A Sinus Lift A Good Solution For Me?
As well as the structure of your jaw, other factors will determine whether you’re suitable for a sinus lift.
You need to be in good general health. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that could hinder healing, sinus augmentation may not be advisable.
Your dentist will assess your medical history and your jaw stability before deciding whether a sinus lift is right for you.
Are There Any Risks With Sinus Lifts?
Sinus augmentation is a safe and effective procedure that is performed regularly across the world.
As with any surgical procedure, there’s a risk ofinfection after a sinus lift, although this rarely happens.
Another risk is that a sinus membrane could become torn or punctured during the procedure. If this happens, your dental surgeon will stitch or patch the area. The sinus lift can often continue as planned but sometimes the membrane has to be given time to heal.
In rare cases, the existing bone may not integrate with the grafted material, necessitating a further sinus lift procedure.
Sinus Lift Cost in Singapore
The cost of dental implant at NoFrills Dental ranges from $800 to $2000 (before Medisave). The cost of the sinus lift surgery is highly dependant on the complexity of the surgery and the expertise of the dentist performing the procedure.
Moreover, other factors such as the number of implants in the treatment will also factor additional cost into dental implant cost and the final pricing of the entire procedure.
SInus lift surgery is Medisave claimable up to $950 per implant. Our clinical administrative staff will walk you through the Medisave claiming process for your dental implant treatment.
Speak to one of our dentists to understand more about sinus lifts, bone grafts, dental implants, and the costs associated with your treatment.
To better understand dental implants surgery in Singapore, you can check out our comprehensive guide on dental implants.
Benefits Of A Sinus Lift
Being told you need a sinus lift before getting dental implants may seem daunting, but is no cause for concern. Sinus augmentation is aroutine form of oral surgery to make it possible to get dental implants even after bone loss.
Without a sinus lift, many people would have to miss out on dental implants, which are placed directly into bone tissue – implants are only as stable as the bone that supports the titanium posts that act as a tooth root.
Sinus augmentation can benefit individuals who want dental implants but have:
- Small jaw structure.
- Deteriorated upper jaw.
- Large sinuses.
Sinus augmentation can also facilitate the use of dental implants in cases of extensive bone loss due to gum disease, cancer treatment or trauma.
Benefits of dental implants include:
- Promotion of bone growth.
- Strong bite.
- Restoring your smile and boosting self-confidence.
- Providing a life-long tooth replacement.
So, What’s Next?
Want to get your missing teeth replaced?
If you’re looking to get your missing teeth replaced, or if you think that you might need a sinus lift/augmentation and bone grafting procedure, you should contact a reputable dental clinic to schedule a consultation with an experienced dentist to better understand your situation.
We would suggest for you to speak to one of our dentists. Our dental providers are experienced, ready to answer all your queries, and will discuss all the possible treatment options available for you.
At the end of the day, we believe that the right dentist for you is the one who will lay out all your treatment options on the table, allowing you to make informed decisions, while ensuring that your entire treatment process is as enjoyable, comfortable and hassle-free as possible.
Good communication between you and your dentist is the best way to ensure a smooth and successful treatment.
In addition, please only proceed with the treatment if you are fully comfortable with the treatment plan proposed by your provider.
Talk to Us Today!
Dental implants are screws placed surgically into your jawbone, to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, facial prosthesis or to act as an orthodontic anchor. It is an ideal option for patients with a good standard of oral health who have lost their teeth due to gum disease, traumatic injuries, failure of root canal treatment etc.
Bacteria builds upon the base of the implant screw and spreads upwards to irritate the soft and hard tissues of the gums around your dental implant. This irritation from bacteria causes your gums to get inflamed, damaging the tissues around it. If the problem is not diagnosed and treated early, the bone structure around your implant shrinks, potentially compromising the anchorage between the implant and jawbone.
Dental implant procedures have around a 95% success rate after adequate healing time has passed. At first glance that sounds great. But keep in mind this statistic comes from patients who have first been approved for dental implants after thorough checks of their suitability.
Therefore, this figure doesn’t cover the whole population. Not everybody is a suitable candidate, for a variety of reasons that will be explained here.