Sinus Augmentation (Sinus Lift) for Dental Implants
Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the bottom sinus wall is very thin, it may not be possible to place dental implants in this bone in a way that will make the implant long-lasting. A sinus augmentation makes it possible for many patients to receive dental implants when years ago, the only option was wearing traditional dentures.
What is Sinus Augmentation?
When undergoing dental implant surgery, it is important that there is enough quality jawbone where the implant will be placed. One of the most difficult areas to place dental implants successfully is the upper back jawbone, due to insufficient bone quality and mass in that area, and its close proximity to the maxillary sinuses (which are located above the upper teeth). Sinuses are air-filled spaces. The problem is that the roots of the upper teeth extend up into the sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Therefore, if you have suffered bone loss due to periodontal disease, tooth loss, or injury, undergoing sinus augmentation surgery will greatly increase the chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.
What is the Procedure for a Sinus Augmentation?
A sinus augmentation procedure raises the sinus floor and allows for new bone formation, which is why this surgery is also called a ‘sinus lift’. The good news is that many patients experience minimal discomfort during this procedure. Dr. Park works with two different approaches to sinus augmentation:
Approach #1: Lateral Sinus Lift
The most common process that is used for sinus augmentation is the lateral approach:
- An incision is made in the gum to expose the jawbone and a small circle is cut into the bone to expose the sinus membrane lining.
- The membrane lining is then lifted into the sinus cavity.
- The space underneath is filled with bone graft material which will regenerate lost bone and tissue.
- The incision is closed, and healing is allowed to take place.
- Depending on your individual needs, the bone graft will be allowed to develop from four to 12 months.
- Dental implants are usually placed at the same time as the sinus augmentation.
Approach #2: Crestal Sinus Lift
- An incision is made in the gum to expose the jawbone.
- Implant drills are used to make a small pathway or hole for the implant to be placed directly under the sinus cavity.
- The drills are used to lift the sinus up.
- The bone graft is placed under the floor of the lifted sinus.
- Dental implants are then put in place.
The difference between the two approaches will depend on the amount of bone present prior to surgery. Dr. Park will direct you to the most efficient procedure for your particular dental needs.