The human skull contains several air spaces called sinuses, which are connected to our air passages. They have no particular function, but it is theorised that they make the head lighter. Maxillary sinus is located in the upper jaw directly above the molar and bicuspid teeth.
Sinus elevation is a bone grafting procedure that builds bone volume below the maxillary sinus before a two-piece dental implant can be placed if it is necessary. When upper back teeth are lost, bone in that area naturally shrinks or resorbs over time. Consequently your sinuses expand to occupy the empty space where the bone used to be. Because there is insufficient bone available to securely place the dental implant, we might suggest sinus lift procedure in order to create space for placing additional bone in that area.
A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. If you’ve lost bone in that area due to reasons such as periodontal disease or tooth loss, you may be left without enough bone to place implants.
Sinus lift surgery can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants. Several techniques can be used to raise the sinus and allow for new bone to form. In one common technique, an incision is made to expose the bone. Then a small circle is cut into the bone. This bony piece is lifted into the sinus cavity, much like a trap door, and the space underneath is filled with bone graft material. Your periodontist can explain your options for graft materials, which can regenerate lost bone and tissue.
Finally, the incision is closed and healing is allowed to take place. Depending on your individual needs, the bone usually will be allowed to develop for about four to six months before implants can be placed. In some cases, the implant can be placed at the same time the sinus is augmented.
Undergoing sinus lift surgery has been shown to greatly increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come. Many patients experience minimal discomfort during this procedure.