When you want dental implants but don't have enough jaw bone to secure the implant, your dentist may recommend sinus lift surgery.

This procedure is also known as sinus augmentation or sinus graft. This procedure can be performed by a variety of medical specialists, including periodontists and oral surgeons.

A dental specialist can perform sinus lift surgery using a variety of techniques. Continue reading to learn more about these methods and how they can help secure your dental implants.

1. Why it’s done
The augmentation or lifting up of the maxillary sinus to make more room for new bone is referred to as a sinus lift.

The maxillary sinuses are air-filled cavities located just above the back of the maxilla, or upper jaw. There is more bone for a dentist to place a dental implant by lifting the sinus and grafting bone in between.

If you don't have enough upper jaw bone, the implant won't be able to properly anchor, and your new dental implant won't be able to perform more demanding tasks like chewing.

Without sufficient bone, the dental implant will not be properly secured and may fail.

In addition, bone in the jaw can be a use-it-or-lose-it situation. If you have had tooth loss, your jawbone may begin to thin over time.

According to the Foundation for Oral Rehabilitation, doctors will recommend sinus lift surgery if they determine you have less than 4 to 6 millimeters of bone height in the back portion of your jaw.

2. Recovery
Swelling and bleeding are two of the most common side effects of a sinus lift. This discomfort usually lasts only a few days, and you can resume your normal activities as directed by your doctor.

The perforation of the Schneiderian membrane is the most common complication of sinus lift surgery. Perforation of this membrane, which lines the maxillary sinus cavity, increases the risk of chronic sinusitis and sinus infection.

If this happens during surgery, a doctor will either try to repair the membrane or stop the procedure entirely.

Following a simple sinus lift surgery, your doctor will most likely give you recovery instructions such as:
- To avoid infection, take antibiotics as directed.
- Avoid sneezing and blowing your nose too hard, as this could affect the placement of the bone graft material.
- Brush your teeth for a set period of time to avoid dislodging any clots or bleeding.
- To alleviate discomfort, take pain relievers.
- Drinking through a straw may cause blood clots that prevent bleeding to dislodge.
- Avoid smoking, which can shorten your healing time.

Typically, you will return to your doctor within a week of the procedure. If your pain worsens rather than improves, or if your bleeding is difficult to control, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

3. Cost
The cost of sinus lift surgery will vary depending on the bone graft materials required, the complexity of the procedure, the facility's fees, geographic location, and physician's fees.

According to Dentaly.org, the procedure can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000. Prior to the procedure, your doctor should go over the expected costs with you.

If you have dental insurance, it may cover a portion of the procedure. To pay for the procedure, some people choose financing options such as payment plans with their dentist or financing through a medical financing company.

4. What to expect
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, it can take 4 to 12 months for your jawbone to heal and develop before placing dental implants. However, if you have sinus lift surgery, your doctor may decide to place dental implants right away.

After a successful sinus lift surgery, you usually do not need the procedure again. If your doctor perforates the Schneiderian membrane during the procedure, he or she may advise you to wait for the membrane to heal before repeating the sinus lift.

The Bottom Line
Sinus lift surgery can pave the way for the placement of dental implants. The outpatient procedure aids in the formation of a stronger bone anchor for a dental implant, increasing the likelihood that the implant or implants will be successful.

Before the implant procedure, your doctor should carefully evaluate your jawbone health and explain their sinus lift recommendations, approaches, and potential bone grafting materials.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

Our attention to ourselves, to our daily routine and habits, is very important. Things that may seem insignificant, are pieces of a big puzzle called life. I want to encourage people to be more attentive to their well-being, improve every little item of it and become healthier, happier, stronger. All of us deserve that. And I really hope that my work helps to make the world better.