The upper jaw normally contains air spaces above the roots of our upper posterior teeth. These are called maxillary sinuses. They connect with other sinuses in our heads and drain into our noses. With the loss of upper back teeth and older age, sometimes these sinuses expand down leaving little bone left in upper jaw for dental implants.
When dental implants are needed in these sites, a procedure called sinus lift is used. Local anesthesia is used with or without IV Sedation/General Anesthesia. An incision over the area is made and the bone on the side of the sinus is thinned out to make a window, the sinus membrane is moved up and out of the way, and bone grafting material is placed, the window is then closed.
An implant can be placed at the same time depending on the clinical situation. A “mini” or vertical sinus lift can also be performed depending on the clinical situation. Usually boney healing takes about 6 months. The procedure is usually painless with just a little swelling afterward.
Red Arrows show outline of the maxillary sinus in area of missing molar. Everything above the outline is air. There is not enough bone to place a dental implant (left) & Post op picture after Sinus Lift and concurrent implant placement. A lateral or formal sinus lift was performed (right).
RED arrows show outline of maxillary sinus in area of first molar tooth (left) & Black arrows show outline of new bone in after Sinus lift (right).