What is a sinus lift?

The maxillary sinuses are located behind the cheekbones and above the upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the upper teeth, or portions of them, may extend into the maxillary sinuses. Should such upper teeth require removal, a communication between the maxillary sinus and the mouth may thereby result and/or only a very thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus from the mouth may remain. As dental implants require a sufficient amount of bone to anchor them in place, if the sinus wall is very thin, it is not possible for dental implants to be placed.

The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of jaw bone within which the implant will be placed. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation procedure can raise the sinus floor to permit the formation of new bone. A sinus lift is one of the most common bone grafting procedures for patients with bone loss in the upper jaw. The procedure enables bone to be deposited in the floor of the maxillary sinus above the bony foundation that anchors the teeth in the upper jaw. This facilitates placement of secure dental implants within the enhanced bony foundation which has been created.

Am I a candidate for a sinus lift procedure?

A sinus lift procedure may be indicated if:

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

How is a sinus lift accomplished?

A small incision is generally made in the upper premolar or molar region to expose the jaw bone and subsequently locate the sinus membrane. The membrane lining the sinus is then gently relocated upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material, either from your own body, from another source, or utilizing synthetic materials. Following bone graft placement, the incision is sutured and the healing process begins. After several months of healing, the grafted bone becomes integrated within the patient’s jaw, permitting placement of dental implants which are now able to be secured in the foundation of an augmented sinus bone.

If there is adequate bone between the ridge of the upper jaw and the inferior portion (bottom) of the sinus to sufficiently stabilize the implant, sinus augmentation and implant placement may at times be performed as a single procedure. If there is inadequate bone as discussed above, however, the sinus augmentation will be performed first, following which healing time is required for the specific graft to mature. Once the graft has matured, the implant(s) is placed in a secondary procedure.

A sinus lift procedure may enable some patients to have dental implants placed, who previously had no other options for tooth replacement other than wearing often ill-fitting dentures.

A sinus augmentation is generally performed at Dr. Özcan‘s office under intravenous sedation with local anesthesia.