The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. 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.
There is a solution and it’s called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The periodontist enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and bone graft is inserted into the floor of the sinus. The bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the dental implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can 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.
Using typical techniques this procedure results in significant pain and swelling. This is due to the traditional techniques utilized and the necessary size of the surgical site using tradition means. The risk of perforating the sinus membrane is also a common complication of this procedure.
Using microsurgical techniques the surgical site is greatly reduced in size. This one factor alone results in significantly less pain and swelling. Often patients have no discomfort. The risk of perforating the sinus lining is also greatly reduced because I am able to see the membrane extremely well and even through the smallest of openings. With these techniques the traditional lateral window approach is no longer necessary and the internal approach can be completed in a more predictable and safer method.