The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper back teeth. Sinuses are like empty spaces that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the 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 from the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus is thin, it is impossible to place dental implants.
The solution to this problem is called a sinus augmentation or sinus lift graft. Dr. Meltzer enters the sinus by creating a small window near the place where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus, pushing the sinus back where it used to be. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new bone.
The sinus augmentation makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants.
If a limited quantity of bone exists between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus to initially stabilize the implant, then, sinus augmentations and implant placement can be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available to provide limited initial stability, then, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, followed several months later by implant placement.