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 posterior upper teeth may 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 require certain dimensions of native bone prior to their placement and eventual integration. When the sinus floor is very thin, dental implant placement is almost impossible.

The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of bone. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation or “lift” can raise the maxillary sinus floor and allow for new bone formation to occur. This sinus lift is one of the most common bone grafting procedures for patients with bone loss in the posterior upper jaw. The procedure allows new bone to form in the floor of the maxillary sinus above the deficient native bone. This enables dental implants to be placed in sites with adequate bone dimensions.

Am I A Candidate For A Sinus Lift Procedure?

A sinus lift may be necessary if you:

  • are missing more than one tooth in the back of your upper jaw
  • are missing a significant amount of bone in the back of your upper jaw
  • are missing posterior teeth due to a birth defect or condition
  • are missing most or all of the maxillary teeth and require support for dental implants

How Is A Sinus Lift Accomplished?

Most commonly, a small incision is made in the premolar or molar region to expose the jaw bone. A small opening is cut into the bone, and the membrane lining the sinus is pushed inward and upward creating a new maxillary sinus floor. The underlying space is then filled with particulate bone graft. The “window” is then covered with a collagen membrane, and the incision is sutured closed. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can then be placed.

If the amount of bone between the crest of the alveolar ridge and maxillary sinus floor is only slightly deficient to sufficiently stabilize the implant, sinus augmentation and implant placement can be performed as a single procedure. If the site is inadequate, the lift will be performed first, followed by implant placement once the site has matured over the course of several months.

This technique makes it possible for patients to receive dental implants that previously had options limited to fixed bridgework or converntional removable dentures.

Sinus augmentation procedures are generally performed at Precision Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery under IV sedation.

Contact Precision Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery online or by phone at (623) 518-2325.