What is a Sinus?
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of your upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. 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. Dr. Noraian is very familiar with the minimal requirements to needed to support implants and though he has several implant systems with which he works, the bone in sinus may need some augmentation before implants may be placed.
About The Sinus Lift Procedure
The quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached is key to the success and longevity of a dental implant. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus lift can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation.
In the most common sinus lift procedure, a small incision is made to expose the jawbone near the back teeth with the bone augmentation is desired. Using piezosurgery, a gentle surgical instrument, a small opening is made into the bone, and the membrane lining the sinus is lifted upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material, typically from bovine, or cow, bone source. Sometimes, bone morphogenic protein may be used to stimulate new bone formation. After the material is implanted, the incision is stitched up and the healing process begins. After nine to twelve months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw, a cone beam CT scan will be taken to ensure sufficient bone augmentation and then dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus lifts and implant placement may 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.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option besides wearing loose dentures.