A procedure that is sometime referred to as “sinus lift” or “sinus graft” is a commonly used method for growing bone in upper jaw (maxilla) in the area of the premolar and molar teeth. The maxillary sinuses are cavities that occupy the back of the upper jaw on either side of your nose. Often the roots of the upper jaw penetrate into the maxillary sinus when they are present. When these teeth are lost or removed, the bone that is left behind is usually inadequate to support dental implants. The method that is used to grow bone in this area is very technique sensitive, and should only be attempted by highly trained dental surgeons.
We first do a thorough review of your health history, and the health of your sinuses. Then we usually take a panoramic X-ray to carefully study the anatomy of the upper jaw and sinuses. You also may need a special type of computed tomography (CT) scan to accurately measure the height and width of your existing bone and to evaluate the health of your sinus.
How is it done?
The entire procedure is all done from the inside of the patient’s mouth.. A small flap is elevated to expose the upper jaw, and then a window is made into the sinus. The sinus is covered by a very thin membrane. This membrane is carefully elevated away, and bone graft material is packed into the newly created space. The bone graft material can be allogenic (bottled bone form tissue banks, that are specifically processed for dental use), or autogenous (harvested form the patient.) In some instances we use synthetic material, or Infuse®, a form of bone growth protein. The bone usually requires six months of healing before it becomes solid enough to support dental implants.