The necessity for a sinus lift (A.k.a sinus augmentation) depends on the jaw bone anatomy. Replacing missing bone or adding mass to existing bone is often essential to the success of a dental implant. This procedure is done as part of the
dental implant surgery
when the patient does not have enough bone mass in the upper jaw, or the sinuses are too close to the upper jaw bone.
For successful dental implantation, most dentists would like to have bone that is at least 5 mm in width and 7 mm in height and the sinus lift procedure attempts to provide this critical bone mass. An implant needs a critical mass of bone surrounding it in order to bind (oseointgrate) to it and deliver enough strength and stability.
The need for a sinus augmentation is very typical to implants that are being placed in the back upper jaw - molars. The sinus augmentation procedure has proven to be successful and has become popular, allowing patients with insufficient bone to undergo implantation surgery.
The procedure takes place at the dentist's office and begins with a local anesthesia to the relevant area. There are several methods for this procedure that are pretty technical but with all of these, the final outcome is that the dentist gets access to the lower part of the sinus (the membrane), that is located right over the jaw bone.
The dentist then lifts the sinus membrane and fills the gap with bone graft material. The space that is filled with the bone graft material will eventually form into bone tissue and increase your total bone mass in that area.
In some cases (when there is enough bone mass for initial stability) the dentist may place an implant during this stage (as part of the dental implant surgery) and then place bone graft material around the exposed part of the implant. The new bone tissue will then actually grow and form around the previously exposed part of the implant.
The area is then closed and stitched up. A healing period of at least 6 months is needed for recovery. Once the bone graft material has meshed into the bone and the total bone mass is sufficient, the dental implant process may be resumed.
Dental implant video: The following Animated dental implant procedure video shows a sinus augmentation using a MIS Implants - bone compression kit.
Sinus augmentation success rates are very high, yet there is still the risk of the sinus membrane being punctured or even torn. If this happens, the dentist will either stitch the sinus tear or place a patch over it. Your dentist can redo the sinus lift once the membrane has healed.