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Sinus Lift prior to Implant Placement

Location of Maxillary Sinuses


Maxillary Sinus Augmentation (Sinus lift) prior to Implant Placement


- What is sinus? Why do I need sinus bone grafting? Do I always need sinus lift before implant placement?

If you want to replace a missing or failing tooth with a state-of-the-art dental implant, your dentist will first need to make sure that you have sufficient bone in your jaw to anchor the implant. This is true no matter what type of tooth is being replaced.

However, if it is an upper back tooth and there is not enough bone under the gum where the implant needs to go, the base of the implant could end up poking through an air space (located to the side of the nose) called a sinus cavity. Since you can't anchor a dental implant to air, this presents a problem — but it is one that can often be solved with a minor in-office surgical procedure called a “sinus membrane lift.”


Sinus surgery step by step.


A sinus membrane lift, or sinus augmentation, involves adding bone to fill in the bottom of that air space, essentially raising the floor of the sinus cavity. There are different techniques to perform sinus grafting... from minor, minimally-invasive procedures in early cases to more major surgeries when there is significant bone deficiency.

- Why wouldn't there be enough bone there already? Why don't I have enough bone for implant?

For some people, it's simply a matter of how large their sinus cavities are, and their shape. In other cases, bone has actually been lost from the area. For example, if your tooth has been missing a long time, the bone that used to surround it may have begun to deteriorate. Bone in general needs stimulation to stay strong; in the case of the jawbone, that stimulation comes from the teeth. When teeth are lost, the bone loses stimulation and the body ceases to make new bone cells in that area. This leads to a reduction in bone volume and density. Also, if your tooth loss was due to periodontal (gum) disease, your tooth-supporting bone may have been reduced as a result of the disease. No matter what the reason is for insufficient bone, a sinus membrane lift can create more bone where it is needed.

- Where does this additional bone come from? 

Most often, it will be bone-grafting materials that are processed in a laboratory for these kinds of purposes. The original source may have been a human or animal donor (usually a cow). Synthetic products can also be used. All grafting materials must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and prepared according to their guidelines. The materials are specially treated to render them completely sterile, non-contagious, and free of rejection factors. Bone grafts act as scaffolds that the body will eventually replace with its own bone.


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