What Is A Sinus?
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. 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. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone. Fortunately the Sinus Augmentation (or Sinus Elevation) procedure can correct this problem and allow for the placement of dental implants.
The Sinus Augmentation Procedure
Several techniques can be used to raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone to be formed. In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, the sinus is entered through a small opening in the bone where the tooth used to be, and the membrane lining the sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material. Sometimes, a special grafting material called Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) that can initiate new bone formation can be used. 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. Sometimes a technique to raise the sinus floor can be performed at the time of tooth removal.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation is performed first, and allowed to mature for several months before the implants are placed.
The sinus augmentation procedure makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other options besides wearing loose dentures or having long, unstable bridges. The technology utilized for this procedure, Piezosurgery makes it safer and more predictable than it has ever been.