What is a Sinus Lift?
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and above 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. A sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation. A sinus lift is one of the most common bone grafting procedures for patients with bone loss in the upper jaw.
A sinus lift may be necessary if you:
- Are missing more than one tooth in the back of your jaw
- Are missing a significant amount of bone in the back our your jaw
- Are missing teeth due to a birth defect or condition
- Are missing most of the maxillary teeth and require support for dental implants
A sinus lift is the optimal procedure in this situation. The oral surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth were formerly positioned. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and bone grafting material is inserted into the floor of the sinus. If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to sufficiently stabilize the implant, sinus augmentation and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If insufficient bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed prior to the implant procedure. The graft will require several months to mature, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.