Sinus Lift

What is a Sinus Lift?

The maxillary sinuses are above the upper posterior teeth. These sinuses are air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the 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 is large, it is impossible to place dental implants without further treatment.

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 a 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 for long term success.

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 jaw.
  • are missing teeth due to a birth defect or condition.
  • are missing most of the upper teeth, but require support for dental implants.

How is a Sinus Lift Accomplished?

In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, a small incision is made around the upper back teeth to expose the upper jawbone. A small opening is made in the bone, and the lining tissue of the sinus is lifted from the bone. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material, either from your own body or from a cadaver. Sometimes, synthetic materials that can initate bone formation are used. After the graft is placed, the incision is closed and the healing process begins. After several months of healing, the added bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted.

In some situations, not enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus cavity is available to stabilize the implant well, but sinus augmentations and implant placement can be performed as a single procedure. The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option besides wearing loose dentures.

A sinus augmentation is generally performed at Drs. Sarasin and Westlund‘s office, under local anesthesia or IV sedation.