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dental conceptIf you need dental implants in the upper jaw, your dentist may recommend having a sinus lift graft before the implant can take place. While this procedure is common, you may not be familiar with it and have questions about what will take place. Understanding why a sinus lift graft is needed and what will happen during the procedure can give you peace of mind and help you make better-informed decisions.

Here is some basic information on the sinus lift graft procedure.

When a Sinus Lift Graft Takes Place

The sinus lift graft is a procedure that ordinarily takes place in combination with a dental implant procedure in the upper jaw. Because of the way the jaw is fashioned, there may not be enough bone to support the dental implant. This can be especially true in cases where gum disease has led to bone loss. Also, in cases where tooth loss took place in the past, the bone surrounding that tooth may be reabsorbed by the body. In such cases, the sinus lift graft is needed to provide a sufficient bone structure for the dental implant.

How the Sinus Lift Graft Is Performed

The oral surgeon will expose the gum where the tooth used to be. The bone is exposed by raising the tissue and a small window is created in the bone and the sinus lining is then elevated. The space created is then filled with bone grafting material, which becomes the new bone the dental implant will integrate into.  Sutures are then placed that will be removed at a recheck appointment.

Follow-Up to the Sinus Lift Graft

The patient usually experiences some swelling and soreness for several days after the sinus lift graft. There may also be some bleeding from the site as the incision heals. Typically, you will be asked to return to the dentist within a week or two after the graft, so the dentist can evaluate the site and remove the stitches if they are not dissolved on their own.

While no surgery is risk-free, the graft is usually a very safe operation with minimal risk to the patient. If you have more questions about the sinus lift graft procedure, ask your oral surgeon for further clarification and instruction.