Placing dental implants in the back of the upper jaw presents a unique set of challenges, especially if the patient has been missing teeth for a long period of time. The proximity of the sinus floor and the natural anatomy of the upper jaw can make implants risky. However, a special bone grafting procedure known as a sinus lift can restore certain patients' ability to receive dental implants. At Oral Surgical Associates in Missoula, MT, our skilled oral surgeons, Dr. Eugene F. Morris and Dr. Armando Gama, can perform the procedure to create a solid base for your implant-supported restoration. This procedure allows for a greater range of patients to enjoy the truly unparalleled benefits of implants.
A number of patients require sinus lifts before replacing teeth with implants in the upper jaw. One major issue is the location of the sinus cavity. The shape and size of these cavities vary between individuals. You may naturally have a low sinus floor. In addition, the sinuses can expand as you age.
Tooth loss is another common issue patients face. The upper jaw, especially the back section near the molars, has less bone density than the lower jaw. In some patients, this natural deficiency alone can cause issues. In addition, when teeth are lost, the body begins resorbing the bone tissue, making implant placement even more difficult. In these cases, a sinus lift procedure can greatly increase your chances of successful implant placement.
During your initial consultation for implants, we will take x-rays and scans of your jawbone to assess the tissue density. We will also discuss your medical history since patients must be healthy enough to safely undergo surgery. Dr. Morris or Gama will carefully evaluate the height of your sinus cavities and determine whether sinus lift surgery is right for you. They can also discuss your sedation options, including nitrous oxide and general anesthesia, with you at this time.
On the day of the surgery, your doctor will make a small incision in the gum tissue and create a window to access the sinus. Then, he will gently raise the floor of your sinus membrane and fill the space below with bone grafting material. Once complete, he will close the incision using sutures. He may also apply platelet-rich plasma (PRP), an advanced technique that can speed the healing process.
After your sinus lift, you may experience some swelling in the area, as well as minor bleeding from your mouth or nose. Avoid blowing your nose or sneezing forcefully, as these actions could cause the sutures to come loose or the graft to shift. We may prescribe you a saline spray and other medications for congestion or inflammation. You may also receive pain medication and an antibiotic to minimize the risk of infection.
For most patients, it takes between six and nine months for the bone graft to fully fuse with the surrounding tissue. During this time, you will attend periodic follow-up appointments at our office so Dr. Morris or Gama can monitor your progress. Once the treatment area has completely healed, we can move forward with your dental implant placement procedure.
Sinus lifts are very technical procedures and require advanced training in order to perform correctly. It is important to choose a surgeon with the right combination of skill and compassion for your procedure. At Oral Surgical Associates, we have been serving the community of Missoula for over 40 years. For more information about sinus lifts or other bone grafting procedures we provide, contact our office online or call (406) 282-8768 to speak to a member of our staff today.