What is a Sinus Lift?

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. A sinus lift, also known as a sinus augmentation, is a surgery that adds bone to your upper jaw in the area of your molars and premolars, specifically, between the jaw and the maxillary sinuses. In order to create more room for the bone, the procedure requires the sinus membrane to be lifted. A sinus lift has been a common procedure for the last 15 years. This type of practice is performed by a professional oral surgeon or Periodontist, and may be necessary before proceeding with any cosmetic dentistry procedures.

There are several techniques 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.

Will I be Needing a Sinus Lift?

Only when a patient’s sinuses are too close to the jaw, or there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw, will a person be undergoing a sinus lift. If any of the following reasons apply to you, then more than likely you will be needing a sinus lift before your dental implant treatment.

  • Missing molars or back teeth in the upper jaw
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Missing teeth for a lengthy period of time (bone resorbs)
  • Maxillary sinus too close to the jaw

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