Sinus Augmentation / Sinus Lift

What is a Sinus?:

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 Sinus Augmentation / Sinus Lift Procedure:

The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of jaw bone 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. In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, a small incision is made on the premolar or molar region to expose the jaw bone. A small opening is made into the bone, and the membrane lining the sinus is gently raised. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material. Sometimes, synthetic materials that can imitate bone formation are used. After the bone is implanted, the incision is stitched up 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 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 augmentations 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.  Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.  The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants preventing the patient from wearing loose dentures.

Sinus augmentation illustration The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and above the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. 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. Sinus augmentation illustration with implant A Sinus graft or sinus lift graft is a solution to augment the sinus and prepare for dental implant placement. Dr. Lawrence Goettisheim enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patients jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new bone.

The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.

If enough of the patient’s own bone exists between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentation and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.