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Sinus Lift Costs & Risks

The cost of a sinus lift operation is an additional treatment cost for several patients undergoing dental implant placement. However sinus lifts help many patients who were not eligible for dental implants due to limited depth of the sinus floor. Sinus lifts have become a popular operation lately due to the increase in the usage of dental implants.

What is the cost of a sinus lift?

The need for a sinus lift operation can raise significantly the cost of dental implants. It is important that the implant dentist identifies the problem early, otherwise it could increase even more the length and cost of treatment.

It is very difficult to estimate an average cost of a sinus lift / sinus augmentation operations. There are big variations depending on the amount of bone loss, the number of implants to be placed and the specific surgical technique to be used.

Other factors such as expertise and geographic location of the dentist also affect the cost as they do for any other dental treatment.

A typical sinus lift for placing a single implant usually costs from $500 to $2,500. If extensive sinus augmentation is needed for placing multiple implants in both sides of the jaw, the total cost of sinus lift may raise up to $25,000. Cost of sinus lifts is relatively higher if the "lateral window" technique has to be used, instead of the less invasive "internal sinus lift" technique.

What are the risks/complications of a sinus lift operation?

As with any invasive surgical procedure there is a small possibility of complications. The risk of sinus lift complications is mostly related with the experience of the dental implant dentist or oral surgeon performing the sinus lift operation. Possible complications include:

  • Sinus perforation - The most common complication during sinus lift procedures is perforation or puncture of the sinus membrane. A tear in the membrane can provide a gate for bacteria to invade in the sinus cavity increasing the risk of an infection. If a perforation occurs, the dentist will try to either stitch the membrane tear or place a patch over it. An antibiotic will be prescribed to prevent any infection. The bone grafting procedure will have to be postponed until the trauma has healed, only if the bone graft material can not be contained in place. The sinus lift can be repeated in a few months after the membrane has healed.
  • Bone graft displacement - A big risk for sinus lifts is sneezing that could cause the bone graft material to move away of the implantation area. The patient should avoid blowing the nose or sneezing forcefully. In case of allergies, the sinus lift procedure must be scheduled at an appropriate season of the year when symptoms are at a minimum.
  • Infection - the risk of infection exists as in any other surgical procedure. However they occur rarely after sinus lifts.

The dentist must be contacted if swelling, bleeding or pain does not subside after one or two days from the sinus lift operation, or if any fever develops.

When should the implants be placed after a sinus lift?

 
  1. If the sinus lift was performed only for preventing the implant from extending into the sinus cavity but there is adequate quantity of bone to provide proper initial stability, the implant can be placed immediately after the sinus lift and sinus augmentation are completed.
  2. If the implant's stability is marginal the dentist will place the implant but may wait some months before the implant is loaded with the final restoration.
  3. Otherwise if the existing bone "wall" is too thin, the patient must wait for a healing period of few months after the sinus lift until the bone graft has matured. The bone grafting process will be complete in four to twelve months, depending on the graft material that was used (autogenous graft materials usually integrate faster then allografts or xenografts). Only then the dental implant can be placed safely. Usually if more than 1-3mm of sinus lift are required, the implants can not be placed in the same phase with the sinus lift bone graft procedure. The patient must wait several months after the sinus augmentation for the formation of new bone, and a second surgery must follow for the placement of dental implants.

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Last update: 03/03/2014