What is the sinus lift and how can it possibly be of benefit to anyone? To discover this, first, it is necessary to learn a little about dental implants. After all, most sinus lift procedures take place so that a patient can get dental implants.
A little Bit About Dental Implants
Dental implants are the modern alternative to dentures. Dentures had many inconvenient features in comparison with teeth. They could be uncomfortable (especially if you ate something with seeds which got underneath the dentures). Dentures took a lot away from the pleasure of eating food as the taste and texture of the food were harder to discern. Dentures could fall out which became a feature of many comedy sketches giving them a far from glamorous image. Dental implants are much closer to having normal teeth thus dispensing with all the inconvenient features of dentures. The artificial implant tooth is fixed to the jawbone with a titanium peg which acts as a root. Over the course of a few weeks, the peg will fuse into the surrounding bone to become an artificial root. For this to be successful, the artificial root has to be completely surrounded on all sides by bone.
Where Does the Sinus Lift Fit Into This?
The sinus is a cavity located immediately behind the nose. The sinus cavity has a membrane lining which helps with the process of filtering oxygen into the bloodstream. The sinus is quite large, in fact it is about as big as your clenched fist. The bottom of the sinus cavity reaches down to meet the upper jawbone. When the titanium peg is fitted to the upper jawbone, there is a possibility that the peg will go all the way through the upper jawbone and into the bottom of the sinus cavity. This would puncture the sinus membrane and cause a sinus infection. It is our job to make sure that this does not happen. Therefore, if the jawbone is too thin to accommodate a dental implant, we will remove a small plug of bone from where the implant is to be located. We will replace this bone with a slightly larger plug of bone that is thick enough to accommodate the dental implant. This larger plug of bone will project through into the sinus floor. Before we install the thicker plug of bone, we will lift the sinus membrane a fraction of an inch to make way for the extra bone.
In this way, an upper jawbone that is too thin to accommodate a dental implant can be made thick enough. Before inserting the thicker bone, the membrane of the sinus floor is safely lifted out of harm's way. Without the sinus lift, the membrane would be penetrated making it vulnerable to infection. If you want to find out more, please reach out to our office to set up a consultation.