When you are getting implants, the key to their success is the quality and quantity of the bone where the implant will be placed. The most difficult area to place dental implants is the upper back jaw because there is insufficient bone and is very close proximity to your sinus. If you have lost bone in the upper back jaw due to tooth loss or periodontal disease, there may not be enough bone to place a dental implant (see Figure 1). A sinus lift (or sinus augmentation) can correct this issue by lifting the sinus floor and promoting the development of new bone for dental implant placement.
There are many techniques that may be used to raise your sinus to allow for new bone growth (see Figure 2). A common technique is exposing the bone by incision. A small circle is then cut into your bone. This piece of bone piece is placed in the sinus cavity, and underneath the space is filled with a bone graft material (see Figure 3). Your oral surgeon will explain what types of material can be used for the bone graft which will regenerate lost tissue and bone.
The incision is then closed and natural healing is allowed to begin. Usually the bone will need to develop from four to 12 months, depending on your individual needs, before an implant can be placed, (see figure 4).
Sinus lifts have shown to dramatically increase your chance of implant success that will last for years. Most patients experience little discomfort during the sinus lift procedure.