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You generally don't think about your sinuses very much until they become clogged with mucus during cold and allergy season. However, the meandering canals behind your nose, eyes, and cheeks may come into play when you prepare for some dental treatments.

Here are five reasons why a sinus lift may be required:

1. You lost a tooth

If you believe a lost tooth is just a cosmetic concern, think again. Your mouth cavity is an integrated system that requires each element to function properly.

For example, your jawbone relies on regular biting and chewing to promote the bone growth cycle, which includes the elimination of old bone tissue (resorption) and the formation of new bone tissue (ossification).

When one or more go missing, the pressure ceases, as does the bone-rebuilding process.

Finally, only resorption occurs, the bone deteriorates, and you lose valuable jawbone. Bone grafting and sinus lift surgery can help restore the integrity of your upper jaw and sinus chamber.

2. You need a dental implant

If you've lost a tooth in the upper rear of your mouth and need to replace it with a dental implant, your jawbone must be at least 4-6 mm thick to accommodate the titanium post that holds the prosthetic in place.

If your jaw is too close to your sinus cavity, your dentist won't be able to proceed with your implant surgery, therefore they need to perform a sinus lift and a bone transplant to move your sinuses higher.

3. You have severe gum disease

Even if you have all of your teeth and they are generally healthy, severe gum disease, also known as periodontitis, can destroy the jawbone tissue and cause your sinuses to sink downward.

Periodontal disease is also frequently associated with tooth loss or the necessity for tooth extraction, which may necessitate a sinus lift procedure.

4. You lost your upper back molars

Your upper back molars attach to your jaw near the end of the line, where the bone is thinner and less dense by nature. So, if you lose one of those molars, you may also lose a portion of your jawbone, necessitating a sinus lift to realign your sinus cavities.

5. You were born with a facial deformity

Certain congenital diseases can harm your nasal canals. For example, a cleft palate or cleft lip can interfere with sinus growth, necessitating a sinus lift in addition to other corrective procedures.

The procedure

During a sinus lift, a dentist elevates the sinus floor to make place for the bone required for a dental implant. The area can be elevated, but often a separate graft is required to create an anchor. The dental implant will not be stable if the sinus floor is too shallow and does not give adequate area for the implant anchor.

The dentist will conduct the lift by making an incision in the back of the gum area. A little section of bone near the sinus membranes will be sliced and lifted into the sinus cavity. At this moment, the membrane lifts, creating enough space for the implants. A bone graft may be required to stabilize the gap, however synthetic material can also be used in the area. The incision site is then sutured closed.

The recovery period varies, however, it might take between 6 and 12 months to heal. The bone graft or implant will need time to cure so that you have enough space for the new implant.

Your dentists can assist you with the healing process and explain what you'll need to do while recovering from the surgery.

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