What is Sinus Lift?
The maxillary sinuses are located 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 you have these upper teeth 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 the bone. Dr. Noraian is very familiar with the minimal requirements needed to support implants and though he has several implant systems that he uses, the bone in the sinus may need some augmentation before he may place the implants.
The Sinus Lift Procedure
The quality and quantity of jawbone to which Dr. Noraian can attach the implant 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, Dr. Noraian makes a small incision to expose the jawbone near the back teeth where you need the bone augmentation. Through piezosurgery, using a gentle surgical instrument, Dr. Noraian makes a small opening into the bone and lifts the membrane lining the sinus upward. He then fills the underlying space with bone grafting material, typically from bovine, or cow bone source. Sometimes, you can have bone morphogenic protein used to stimulate new bone formation. After the material is implanted, Dr. Noraian stitches the incision up and the healing process begins. After nine to 12 months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw, and Dr. Noraian will take a cone beam CT scan to ensure sufficient bone augmentation and then he can insert dental implants that will stabilize 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, Dr. Noraian may be able to perform sinus lifts and implant placement as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, Dr. Noraian will have to perform the sinus augmentation first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, Dr. Noraian can place the implants.
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.