Replacing missing upper back teeth can be very difficult. When the back teeth in the upper jaw are missing, the sinus cavity in your cheekbones becomes enlarged as your natural bone deteriorates. This means there won’t be enough bone height to place an implant (see picture). A sinus lift, also known as a sinus augmentation or sinus elevation, is a bone grafting procedure for patients with such an enlarged sinus that it would otherwise be impossible to place an implant.
A sinus lift is a procedure that adds bone graft material to lift up the sinus membrane and regain lost space when your sinus has expanded due to loss of teeth. The procedure can be either a crestal sinus lift where you add the bone graft material through the top of the gum ridge where you tooth was before. Or it can be a lateral window sinus lift where you go in and add bone from the side instead. The lateral window sinus lift is normally only done for larger sinus lifts.
The original procedure involved an open approach from the side that would be a more invasive surgery. And while we still sometimes have to use the open approach, however, new techniques and tools allow us to perform a closed lift or crestal lift. In the closed technique, we create an opening for the implant and then using that opening to place the bone grafting material between your sinus and your jawbone. This technique allows for a much less invasive surgery but still achieves excellent results.
In general we recommend a healing period of 4-6 months depending on the size of the sinus lift. Because we utilize the newest techniques, imaging technology and materials we are often able to place the implant the same day as we do the sinus lift saving you a second surgery.
You can have some swelling or slight bleeding afterwards. The most important thing is you cannot blow your nose and if you have to sneeze you have to sneeze with an open mouth. Otherwise the pressure buildup in your sinuses can cause the bone graft material to be dislodged.
With the newest technology we can see your sinus in 3D with our in house 3D cone beam CT Scanner to properly plan and select the best technique in your individual situation. New instruments and techniques has made this a much quicker and easier procedure than previously. We also offer IV-sedation if you have dental anxiety or would like to be sedated during the procedure.