Seattle Prosthodontics, Dental Implants & General Dentistry • Seattle, WA
What is a sinus lift?
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper posterior (back) teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinus cavity. When these teeth are removed, there is often a thin wall of bone separating the sinus and the mouth. For dental implants to be successful, sufficient bone is needed to hold them in place. With a thin sinus wall, it is not possible to place an implant without it potentially failing. For optimal results, the quality and quantity of bone material to which the implant will be attached is paramount. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation (lift) can raise the sinus floor to allow for new bone formation. A sinus lift is one of the most common bone grafting procedures for patients with bone loss in the upper jaw. The procedure seeks to grow bone in the floor of the maxillary (upper) sinus above the bony ridge of the gum line that anchors the teeth in the upper arch. By strengthening and growing bone in this region, implants can be placed and secured in the area of new bone growth.
Who is a candidate for sinus augmentation?
A sinus lift may be necessary if you:
- are missing a significant amount of bone between the lower wall of the sinus and ridge crest
- are missing teeth due to a birth defect or other related condition
- are missing most of the maxillary (upper) teeth and bone that require support for dental implants
How is this procedure done?
The most common sinus augmentation procedures require a small incision in the gum near the area where the implant is being placed and is lacking strong bone structure. A small opening is cut into the bone and the membrane lining of the sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material from either bone collected during the surgery (your own) or sterile bone we have purchased ahead of time from a bone bank, a company specializing in harvesting bone for implant placement. Once the bone is implanted and depending on the circumstances, the implant can sometimes be placed during the same procedure. The incision will be stitched-up and regeneration commences.
After adequate healing time (approximately 4-6 months) has occurred, Dr. Goll will either begin the restorative portion if he was able to place the implant at the same time, or he will determine if you can ‘move ahead’ for the implant surgery. This procedure is also completed in our downtown office location and is done under local anesthesia unless the patient requests a mild sedative.