Above the maxillary posterior teeth lies the maxillary sinus. Often times the sinus will dip down between the roots of these teeth. If these teeth are lost and the extraction site is not preserved, there may be very little bone between the mouth and the sinus. In these cases a sinus augmentation is indicated in order to place implants. Proper radiographs with markers will allow us to determine if there is sufficient bone to place an implant or if an augmentation is necessary.
A sinus lift allows the sinus floor to be repositioned, creating enough space to properly place an implant. Various grafting materials are used to encourage your bone to grow more quickly into this area, helping to stabilize the dental implant. Over a period of several months, the graft material will be resorbed and your own bone will replace the graft material.
In certain circumstances, an even simpler procedure can be utilized. When possible, the bone remaining under the sinus floor is gently “pushed up”, thus lifting the floor of the “dropped” sinus. Bone replacement materials are then placed beneath this lifted bone. Once again the bone materials are replaced as your body grow new bone into this area.
Sinus augmentation procedures are highly predictable, with studies reporting over 95% success. Following sufficient healing of a sinus augmentation (6-10 months), implants are placed in a predictable and successful manner. It is important to realize that if the sinus augmentation procedure does not result in enough bone for implant placement, additional bone may be regenerated through a second sinus augmentation procedure at the time of implant placement.