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Sinus Lift : Why do we need it for Implants

Sinus Lift can be a confusing term for most of the patients as usually they understand what sinus is but can not imagine what the exact procedure consists of.

When we loose our top molars or in some cases even premolars and there is not enought bone to support a future dental implant, sinus lift procedure can be required.

This usually happens in patients over 45 years old who have lost their molars for more than 5-6 years and the residual crest is resorbed being diagnosed on CT scan with low amount of bone which can vary between 1 - 5 mm in height.

Even though Sinus Lift sounds very complicated and the term itself creates missunderstanding in most of the cases, the procedure where a surgeon has access to the sinus cavity has been used for many years even by ENT surgeons and even before the use of dental implants.

Sinus Lift is basically a surgical procedure where the clinician creates direct or indirect sinus access in order to lift the Schneiderian Membrane and create space for bone graft.

Due to important characteristics of the maxillary sinus, bone graft has a high rate of success if it is placed to healthy and ideally non smoker patients.

Sinus Lift can be performed even after the extraction of a tooth that has direct connection with the sinus for example, through crestal access or lateral access which is the most commonly used technique. The entire procedure is done under local anesthetic and in some cases where patients are nervous, sedation can be applied to increase the comfort.

Once the Sinus Lift procedure has been performed there is a healing period of at least 6 months in order for the bone graft to be integrated.

If the surgeon decides to have implant placement at the same time with the Sinus Lift procedure the healing should still be at least 6 months but this technique will save 3-4 months of implant osseointegration.

This means that implants placed at the same time with Sinus Lift surgery can be loaded with bridge or crown after 6 - 7 months compared to the procedure when first sinus lift is done and implants are placed after the healing period.

Being a surgical procedure Sinus Lift surgery can have complications and risks as any other surgery and patients need to be aware of the pros and cons. Sinus infection , bleeding , swelling, sinusitis , implant failure or implant falling in the maxillary sinus just a few of the complications and risks associated with Sinus Lift and Implant placement surgeries but according to studies and literature they are rare.

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