General Information & Overview
A sinus augmentation, or sinus lift, is a surgery that adds bone to your upper jaw in the area of your molars and premolars. Many people who have lost teeth in their upper jaw — particularly the back teeth, or molars — do not have enough bone for dental implants to be placed. Once teeth are gone, bone begins to be absorbed back into the body. The bone is added between your jaw and the maxillary sinuses, which are on either side of your nose. The maxillary sinus may be too close to the upper jaw for implants to be placed. To make room for the bone, the sinus membrane has to be moved upward, or be "lifted." The shape and the size of the sinus can vary for each patient.
The Sinus Augmentation Procedure
Patients will need X-rays taken before your sinus lift so the periodontist can study the anatomy of your jaw and sinus. Patients also may need a special type of computed tomography (CT) scan. This scan will allow our periodontist to accurately measure the height and width of your existing bone and to evaluate the health of your sinus. The bone used in a sinus lift may come from your own body, from a cadaver, or from cow bone.
The periodontist will access the area where your posterior teeth used to be, gently push up the sinus membrane lining away from your jaw, and insert the bone graft material into the area where the sinus was located, & close the area with stitches. Many patients experience minimal discomfort during this procedure.
Dental implants will be placed six to nine months later. This allows time for the grafted material to mesh with your bone. The amount of time depends on the amount of bone needed. It is common to experience some swelling & bleeding from the mouth or nose.
The main risk of a sinus lift is that the sinus membrane could be punctured or torn. If the membrane is torn during the procedure, the surgeon will either stitch the sinus tear or place a patch over it. If the repair is not successful, your surgeon may stop the procedure and give the hole time to heal.