dentist smiling at her patient

At Gentle Care Dentists in Arlington, we’ve helped hundreds of people restore their smile through a sinus lift, or sinus augmentation surgery. In order to understand this dental procedure, it’s important to know what role your teeth play in the structure of your mouth and jaw. Your teeth and their roots provide stimulation to your jawbone, and when a tooth is removed or extracted, it no longer stimulates the bone tissue. Without this much-needed stimulation, your body will start to demineralize your bones, which is also known as bone resorption. This will result in the softening of your jaw bone, which can cause the floor of your maxillary sinus to sink. If the sinus has overcrowded the upper jaw, a sinus lift may be needed to make room for dental implants.

What Are Sinus Lifts Used For?

A sinus lift may be recommended by your dentist for a variety of reasons. Whether your sinuses are too close the the jaw, there’s not enough bone height in your upper jaw, or you need to make room for dental implants, a sinus lift can help. Let’s look at a few more reasons your dentist may recommend a sinus lift:

  • People who have lost teeth in their upper jaw, particularly near the back teeth or molars, may not have enough bone for dental implants to be placed.
  • If bone in the jaw is lost due to periodontal or gum disease, a sinus lift may be needed.
  • Those who have lost teeth due to poor oral hygiene or external trauma may need a sinus lift before implants can be used.

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What To Expect From A Sinus Lift

When you visit your dentist or oral surgeon for a sinus lift, your oral care specialist will answer any questions you have before starting the procedure. You will likely be required to take an X-ray of your mouth and jaw, as well as a special kind of computer tomography (CT) scan. This will help your dentist accurately measure the height and width of the existing bone in your jaw to evaluate the health of your sinuses.

During a sinus lift, your surgeon will carefully cut the gum tissue where your back teeth used to be. The tissue will then be raised, and small granules of bone-graft material will be backed into the space where the sinus was. The bone that is used in a sinus lift may come from another area of your mouth or body. In some cases, the surgeon will remove bone from your hip or tibia. for the procedure. Once the bone is placed where it needs to be, your dental professional will use stitches to close up the area, which is where your implants will be placed four to nine months later. This will give your mouth enough time to properly heal before the implants can be placed.

What To Do Following The Procedure

Depending on the severity and circumstances of your sinus lift, your surgeon will recommend a handful of post-operative care tips. In order to prevent unnecessary pain and infection following your sinus lift, make sure to follow the steps below to ensure everything heals properly.

Immediately Following Your Surgery

  • When you awake from your surgery, there’s a good chance your dental professional will have placed gauze pads in your mouth to help control bleeding. Make sure to bite on the gauze pad that has been placed over your sinus lift for at least an hour. After this time, the pad should be removed and replaced by a fresh gauze pad.
  • Avoid the temptation to vigorously rinse your mouth or touch the wounded area following your sinus lift.
  • To reduce the swelling in your cheeks, place ice packs on the side of your face where the sinus lift was performed.
  • Restrict your activities the day of the surgery and resume your normal activities when you feel comfortable.
  • If you experience excessive bleeding, you may attempt to control it by gently rinsing or wiping any only blood blots from your mouth before placing a clean gauze pad on the area. If bleeding continues, consider biting on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag will help to form a blood clot which can control excessive bleeding.
  • Pain and discomfort from a sinus lift may last up to four or five days. For most patients, the third and fourth days are the hardest, and your surgeon may prescribe pain medication for those days.

If you’re looking for a trustworthy and dependable dentist near Arlington, look no further than Gentle Care Dentists. We’ve helped hundreds of people repair their smiles through our sinus lift procedures, and we would love to do the same for you. To learn more about our dental practice or to schedule an appointment with one of our oral surgeons, contact us today!