What Is A Sinus?
The maxillary sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces behind your cheeks and on top of your upper teeth. Roots of some natural upper teeth may extend up into the maxillary sinuses, and if these upper teeth are removed, just a thin wall of bone is left separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to securely place dental implants, and that’s when sinus augmentation may be necessary.
The Sinus Augmentation Procedure
The quality and quantity of jawbone to which a dental implant is attached is the key to a successful and long-lasting procedure. If bone loss has occurred due to trauma or disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and enable new bone formation. The sinus graft has made it possible for patients to have dental implants when years ago loose dentures were the only option.
In common sinus augmentation procedures, a small incision is made on the premolar or molar region to expose the jawbone, and a small opening is cut into the bone, pushing the membrane lining the sinus upward. That space is then filled with bone grafting material from your own body, a cadaver, or synthetic materials. When the procedure is complete and several months of healing have passed, the new sinus bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is adequate and available, sinus augmentations and implant placement can be performed as a single procedure. If there isn’t enough bone, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, followed by the graft several months after.