The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the back upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty holes that have nothing in them. 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.
There is a solution and it is called a sinus lift or sinus augmentation. Dr. Vahadi enters the sinus from the side of where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and bone graft is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is 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 lift makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing removable dentures.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the dental implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes 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 for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.