What Is "Sinus Augmentation”?
Sinus augmentation is a dental-related surgery done by a periodontist or other specially trained oral surgeon. General dentists will not be able to perform this surgery for you. The surgery involves grafting bone to the back area of your upper jaws, just below your maxillary sinuses. In order to safely do this, your sinus membranes must be lifted slightly upwards, which is why the surgery is sometimes also called a "sinus lift”.
Why Are Sinus Augmentations Performed?
The purpose of sinus augmentation is to build out the bone to give adequate support for dental implants. It could be your back upper jaw bones are too short or thin, or simply that your sinuses are too close to your jaws. It is relatively common for dental patients who have lost molars and other far-back teeth, to lack adequate bone mass toward the back of their jaw. The upper jaw also tends to naturally have less bone than the lower jaw. If your back teeth have been missing for some time, the underlying jaw bone will shrink due to the prolonged lack of pressure on it during chewing and talking. Finally, note that the exact positioning, shape, and size of maxillary sinuses varies significantly from person to person, and dental implants simply cannot fit unless the sinuses are properly aligned.
What Is the Sinus Augmentation Process?
Your dental surgeon will normally take bone from some other part of your body to prepare the grafting material. They will also need to take X-rays and CT scans to get precise measurements of the dimensions of your upper jaw bones.
Once you arrive for your scheduled appointment, your periodontist will begin by cutting back the gums in the area of your missing back teeth. He will expose the underlying jaw bone and dig out a small oval cavity. Next, your sinus tissue will be carefully moved further from your jaw.
At this point, small bits of bone mass will be carefully but firmly added into the oval cavity. The bone will continue to be added until your jaw rises a few millimeters above its former height. The gum tissue will then be stitched back together and allowed to heal for 4 to 9 months before dental implants can be safely installed.
Bone grafts for dental implants are common in many parts of the mouth, but especially for the back upper teeth. Keep in mind that these kinds of surgeries are quite common these days and that dental specialists have great skill in safely performing them. If you think you may need sinus augmentation or other bone-graft surgery, feel free to contact Dr Kenzik in Ormond Beach, FL, to learn more about the procedure.