The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty ‘rooms’ or ‘air spaces’ that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural 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 and the mouth.
Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. Over time, the sinus can expand replacing the bone that used to hold the teeth. Thus, when the sinus has replaced the bone, it is impossible to place dental implants.
There is a solution called a sinus graft or sinus lift. The sinus graft makes it possible for patients to have dental implants. Dr. Morris enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw.
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 sinus bone.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. Often, grafting the sinus can be performed through the implant hole eliminating the need for second site surgery.
If not enough bone is available, the Sinus Augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.