Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of San Buenaventura CAThe maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are empty cavities that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the floor of 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 solution to this problem is called sinus lift graft. The dental implant surgeon 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 sinus 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.
How is this procedure accomplished?
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.
Most commonly, a small incision is made to expose the jaw bone. A small opening is cut into the bone, and the membrane lining the sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material either from your own body or from another source. Sometimes synthetic material that encourage bone formation are used. After the bone is placed, the incision is closed and the healing process begins. After 4-6 months of healing the graft material is replaced by the patients natural bone and dental implants can be placed and integrated into the newly formed sinus bone.