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What is a sinus lift?

Most patients will never need a sinus lift procedure however, for those patients who need it, it can make a big difference.

In  many cases, we must consider replacing teeth in the molar region in the upper jaw. Dental Implants are the ideal solution to replacing missing teeth as they provide a fixed and functional substitute to missing teeth. Dental implants are permanently placed into the patient’s jaw bone which enables them to provide a strong and stable foundation to support replacement teeth.

We often find that the upper molar area (posterior maxilla) of the mouth has insufficient bone available for a dental implant to be fitted. This may be due to a previous infection that affected the failed tooth or teeth. It could also be because the tooth may have been removed some time ago and this is because in most patients the bone shrinks following tooth loss. One of the main reasons we recommend replacing teeth soon after having them removed is to prevent this unwanted healing process which results in bone loss.

The lack of bone in the upper right molar space is seen on the first xray image. The image below shows the growth of ‘new’ bone which has enabled the placement of a permanent fixed implant in the upper right molar space.

If bone loss has occurred, we can still consider providing our patients with dental implants. In the upper molar regions we can utilise the space available in the maxillary sinuses to provide the patient with additional bone volume that will make it possible for them to have dental implants. The maxillary sinuses are large air spaces that everyone has around the region of the upper molar teeth. The large anatomical space in the sinuses is much larger than is needed for the healthy function of the airways and sinuses. For this reason, we can use some of this ‘extra’ space to increase the bone volume in patients who may lack sufficient bone in this part of their mouth. In most patients this is possible and it allows us to successfully provide patients with the treatment they need. The procedure is pain free and we have provided this successfully to many patients at our clinic.

 

Not all patients require sinus lifts, in fact very few patients actually need this dental procedure. For those patients need a sinus lift, it is certainly nothing to be concerned about and it is an exceptional procedure to enable the provision of dental implants in patients who would otherwise not be able to have this treatment.

Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCE (Eng)

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