Often patients who have lost teeth in the upper jaw require a sinus lift, also called sinus augmentation, in order to have dental implants placed. This is because the bone in the area where teeth are missing naturally beings to shrink, or resorb, over time. As a result, the sinuses expand to occupy the empty space where the bone used to be. With insufficient bone to securely place the dental implant, a sinus augmentationi is necessary to move the sinus where it is meant to be and to place additional bone in the area.
There are two forms of sinus lift procedures and the form you receive depends on your individual needs and the amount of bone you still have. Which form of augmentation if right for you will be determined during your examination and implant consultation.
It is often possible to augment the bone with a crestal sinus augmentation. In this technique the site for implant placement (osteotomy) is prepared. Before the implant is placed the floor of the sinus is gently pushed up and bone grafting material is added. The dental implant is then placed and, in 4-6 months, the bone graft becomes new bone for you! This has the advantage of being done at the same time as your dental implant, meaning only one surgery is needed. It enables you to have your new tooth sooner. It does, however, have limits as to how much new bone can be created.
A lateral sinus lift (augmentation), as seen above, is used when the bone loss is severe. It is done in the office, often with local anesthesia alone. Typically, 4-6 months of healing is required for the new bone to form before your dental implants can be placed. This technique does, however, allow areas to be prepared for dental implants that could otherwise not be restored.
After your examination and implant consultation the doctors will be able to tell you which of these procedures, if needed, will help produce the best result for you.