Sinus Lift Procedure

Maxillary sinuses are like empty rooms that reside behind your cheeks and on top of your upper teeth. 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. When the upper teeth are missing, the sinuses can drop down and lead to jawbone resorption.

The best way to prevent resorption of the upper jawbone is to perform site preservation (bone grafting) at the time of extraction. For dental implants to be successful, adequate quality and quantity of jawbone is required. However, when the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in the bone.

The solution to this problem is a procedure called a sinus graft or sinus lift, where Dr. Seibert or Dr. Suleiman-Ata enters the sinus at the site of the missing upper teeth. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus (the roof of the upper jaw). After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.

The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants whose only option years ago would have been loose dentures.

If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant, the sinus augmentation and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus lift will have to be performed first, and depending on the type of material used, the graft may need to mature for several months before the implant(s) can be placed.

After the sinus lift procedure, antibiotics and analgesic medication are prescribed and post-operative care instructions are reviewed both verbally and in writing. Following the post-operative care instructions is critical for success and for a positive experience. Limited physical activity is recommended for two to three days to allow the gum to heal and minimize bleeding. A temporary removable or fixed bridge may be fabricated by your general dentist to be utilized during your healing period. The surgical site may be tender for a few days following the procedure, but pain is not usually reported by our patients.