What is a sinus lift?
The maxillary sinuses are large empty, air-filled cavities positioned behind your cheeks and above the upper teeth. Some of the roots of the upper teeth often extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often insufficient bone to stabilize Dental implants. There is a great deal of variation in the position of the maxillary sinus and amount of bone available between individuals. Other variables include the length of time the upper tooth has been missing, previous infections, past surgeries or bone lost during the extraction.
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 augment the bone in the floor of the maxillary sinus to enable sound support for implant placement.
How is a sinus lift accomplished?
In many cases, if the amount of bone augmentation needed is minimal, the sinus lift and graft procedure can be performed at the same time of implant placement through the implant preparation site. This is called an “internal” sinus lift. After the implant preparation is accomplished, the sinus membrane is pushed upward and bone grafting material is placed to keep the membrane “lifted” followed by implant placement. After several months of healing, the implant integrates into the surrounding viable bone and is ready to be restored by the patient’s dentist or prosthodontist.
If there is very natural bone available, the area to graft is larger and the sinus proximity is very close, a “lateral” approach sinus lift may be necessary. This delicate procedure approaches the sinus from the cheek side through a bony window allowing more significant lifting and grafting to the sinus floor. This procedure can occasionally be done at the time of implant placement but often requires a separate procedure and 4-6 months of healing prior to implant placement.
Every situation is unique and we specialize in developing a treatment plan that addresses each patient’s clinical presentation and more importantly, their individual goals of treatment.