When you hear the words “lift” and “augmentation,” you might think of plastic surgery. But, a sinus lift — also known as a sinus augmentation — focuses on adding bone to your upper jaw to support a dental implant. This delicate procedure requires advanced training and precise attention to detail. Rex Hoang, DMD, specializes in performing this procedure at DC Dental Spa in Washington, D.C. If you’re considering dental implants and need a sinus lift, here’s what you need to know.
Why you may need a sinus lift
Dr. Hoang sometimes performs sinus lifts on patients who want to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant in their upper jaw. In order to replace a missing tooth, the patient needs plenty of healthy bone to secure the implant. But there might not be enough healthy bone if the tooth has been missing for a while.
If the tooth has been missing for a while, the jawbone above the tooth may shrink in size, and sinus tissue can expand into the area. A sinus lift replaces the lost bone and pushes the sinus tissue back up to where it was. Other reasons for bone loss could be due to gum disease or problems with the anatomy of the jaw.
The material Dr. Hoang uses can come from your body, a donor, or artificial bone. The amount can vary from patient to patient, but it often involves several millimeters of material. Dr. Hoang might also suggest a sinus lift due to the location of your sinuses.
Preparing for your sinus lift
Before your procedure, Dr. Hoang takes X-rays to get a clear picture of your jaw and sinus anatomy. He may also recommend getting a CT scan to get more detailed measurements of your existing bone and to gauge your sinus health. If you suffer from seasonal allergies or have an infection, you should postpone your sinus lift until your symptoms clear up.
During your procedure, Dr. Hoang administers a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable. To perform your sinus lift, he makes a small incision in your gum tissue where you will get your implant. After exposing your jawbone, Dr. Hoang makes a small hole in the bone. Then, he moves your sinus tissue up and inserts the bone grafting material.
To finish your sinus lift, Dr. Hoang closes the incision in your gum with a few stitches.
What to expect after your sinus lift
In most cases, you can expect very little discomfort after your procedure. However, it’s normal to have some swelling in the site and minor bleeding from your nose or mouth. Dr. Hoang will provide detailed care instructions so you can stay comfortable and avoid getting an infection while you heal. You should also avoid blowing your nose or sneezing, because these actions could shift your bone graft material or loosen your stitches.
After approximately a week, you’ll return to the office so Dr. Hoang can check the surgical site and evaluate the healing process. Before placing your dental implant, your bone graft has to completely harden and fuse with your jaw. This process can take several months, but Dr. Hoang will provide a more specific timeline based on your situation.
To learn more about getting a sinus lift or a dental implant, book an appointment request online or over the phone with DC Dental Spa today.