What is a Sinus?:
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
The Sinus Augmentation Procedure:
The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. If bone loss has occurred due to expansion of the sinus, injury, or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation or sinus elevation procedure can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation.
In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, we gain access through a small opening into the sinus, and the lining of the sinus is gently pushed upwards. The bone graft or augmentation material such as Infuse® Bone Graft will be used for the sinus elevation. The graft will be allowed to mature and stabilize for an appropriate amount of time, becoming part of your natural bone.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can oftentimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature prior to implant placement.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option besides wearing loose dentures.