A sinus lift is a dental procedure performed by an oral surgeon or dental surgeon so that the amount of bone in the upper jawbone (posterior maxilla) is increased. A bone graft is placed into the sinus membrane, the area of premolar and molar teeth inside the patient’s upper mouth . The procedure is also known as a Maxillary sinus floor augmentation, a sinus lift, a sinus graft, sinus augmentation or sinus procedure.
When a patient has lost a tooth due to extraction, a process known as the alveolar process begins. This is when the vacant tooth socket collapses as it heals. This leaves a toothless area known as a ridge. The collapse can causes a loss in both the height and the width of the surrounding bone. When a patient loses the maxillary molar or premolar, the floor of the maxillary sinus expands which causes the underlying bone to diminish in thickness. This leads to a loss of volume in the bone that a surgeon will need in order to successfully place dental implants. The purpose of the sinus lift is to graft additional bone into a patient’s maxillary sinus. This process creates more bone to support a dental implant.
How is the process performed?
When there is not enough posterior maxillary vertical bone for the surgeon to find so that dental implants can be supported the sinus lift or bone graft has to be performed. The surgeon will create a small hole in the anterior walls of the maxillary sinus using special burrs. These are made so that they cut a window in the bone without cutting the tissue underneath. Therefore the surgeon can successfully remove bone and does not need to tear or rip the sinus membrane.
The surgeon may use a resorbable collagen membrane and place it inside the sinus against the sinus membrane. This will protect the membrane while bone graft material is strategically placed on top of the maxillary sinus.
There are different types of bone graft material that may be used. These can be:
1) Autogenous bone (the patient’s own bone),
2) Allogenic bone (freeze-dried cadaver bone), bovine bone (cow bone),
3) GMP Approved BMP-2 (bone morphogenetic protein).
4) Patients own PRP (platelet rich plasma) and stem cells combined with the above.
When a patient receives a sinus graft it can often take six months for the graft to heal. Once this graft has been deemed successful dental implants can then be safely placed into the patients grafted sinus.
How important is this procedure and is it necessary?
A patient’s dental implant procedure in order for it to be successful has to be held in place securely. When the sinus wall a patient is very thin it will be impossible to place dental implants into the bone.
Therefore the only route for a successful dental implant that stand the test of time is the quality and amount of jawbone made available in which the dental implant can be attached. If a patient has experienced bone loss due to periodontal disease then a sinus procedure (sinus lift) will be the only option as this can raise the patient’s sinus floor and allow for new bone formation. This will cause the bone in this location to become strengthened allowing for a successful placement of dental implants that can be held securely due to the added new bone growth.
How will I know that I need a sinus procedure?
Firstly your dentist will inform that this procedure will be necessary in order to perform the dental implant procedure.
You may be a candidate for a sinus lift if you have one of the following situations:
+ You are missing more than one tooth in the back of your jaw.
+ You are missing a large amount of bone in the back of your jaw.
+ You have a birth defect or condition causing you to be missing teeth .
+ You missing most of your maxillary teeth and need support for dental implants.
How long will the procedure take?
If there is enough bone in the patient’s upper jaw and the bottom of the patients sinus is available then sinus augmentation and an implant procedure can be performed at the same time as a single procedure.
If the patient does not have enough bone available then first the sinus augmentation will have to be performed and the graft will have to be left to fuse depending largely on the type of material used. Once the bone graft has matured and the procedure has been deemed successful then the implants can be placed.
The process of sinus graft makes what was not possible years ago now possible - which means that patients that years ago could not have dental implants can now have them. Years ago the only option was dentures. Now dental implants and the ability to perform sinus grafts on difficult cases has changed many lives.
The process of having a sinus lift could be of worry to many patients if you have been told that you need this procedure. If you are looking to speak to someone who has performed hundreds of these procedures then make an appointment to see Dr. Victor Terranova.