What is a Sinus Lift?
The maxillary sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. 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. 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 the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. 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 one of the most common bone grafting procedures 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. By strengthening and growing bone in this location, dental implants can be placed and secured in the new bone growth.
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Am I a Candidate for a Sinus Lift Procedure?
A sinus lift may be necessary if you:
- missing more than one tooth in the back of your jaw.
- missing a significant amount of bone in the back of your jaw.
- missing teeth due to a birth defect or condition.
- missing most of the maxillary teeth, but require support for dental implants.
How is this Oral Surgery accomplished?
In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, a small incision is made on the premolar or molar region to expose the jawbone. A small opening is cut into the bone, and the membrane lining the sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentation and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the dental implants can be placed.