What is a sinus lift?
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is having good quality and sufficient jaw bone with which to attach the implant to. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation. A sinus lift is a pretty common procedure for patients with bone loss in the upper jaw. The procedure seeks to grow bone in the floor of the maxillary sinus above the bony ridge of the gum line that anchors the teeth in the upper jaw, so that dental implants can be placed in the new bone growth.
Who should have a sinus lift?
A sinus lift is suitable if you are:
- Missing more than one tooth in the back of your jaw or you are missing teeth due to a birth defect or other condition
- Missing a significant amount of bone at the back of your jaw
- Missing some of the maxillary teeth and require support for dental implants.
At Oral Facial & Implant Specialists our surgeons cut a small incision on the premolar or molar region to expose the jaw bone. A small opening is cut into the bone, and the membrane lining of the sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material from your body or from other sources and synthetic materials that imitate bone formation. After the bone is implanted, the incision is sutured and the healing process begins. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted into the newly formed sinus bone.
If sufficient bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to sufficiently stabilize the implant, sinus augmentations and implant placement can be performed in one procedure. If not, the sinus augmentation is performed first, then the sinus graft will mature for several months before the implants can be placed. The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants that previously had no other option besides wearing loose dentures.
A sinus augmentation is performed at Oral Facial & Implant Specialist’s practice under local anesthesia (oral or intravenous anesthesia is available as well).