A sinus lift procedure performed by an oral surgeon may be indicated as part of the process to augment bone needed to place dental implants.
A sinus lift is a surgical procedure performed by specialists such as oral surgeons that is used to add bone to the upper jaw in the area of your molars and premolars. It is sometimes called a sinus augmentation.
A sinus lift is used for cases where there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw for the sinuses, or the sinuses are too close to the jaw for dental implants to be placed. Bone is added between your jaw and the maxillary sinuses, which are on either side of your nose. To make room for the bone, a sinus membrane has to be moved upward or lifted, and that is where we get the term “sinus lift.”
There are several reasons why patients may not have enough bone in their upper jaw for dental implants to be placed. People who have lost teeth in their upper jaw, particularly in their molar areas, do not have enough bone for implants to be placed because tooth loss leads to bone loss. Once you lose teeth, bone begins to resorb or break down where the teeth used to be. If the teeth have been missing for a long time, there is usually not enough bone left to place the implant.
It is also true that the back part of the upper jaw has inherently less bone than the lower jaw. Another factor to consider is that bone might be lost due to periodontal disease around the teeth.
Also, the shape and the size of the maxillary sinuses vary from person to person. The sinus can get larger as you age. The result is that even when you have teeth in that area, you can have a sinus that will move closer to the roots of the teeth and need a sinus lift procedure.
Sinus lift procedures are often done in my office using appropriate anesthesia. The procedure has become routine and predictable and it enables patients to have implant dentistry who otherwise would not be candidates for that procedure.
Dr. Leonard Spector