Patients who have either insufficient bone height in the upper jaw or sinuses too close to the jaw may need sinus-lift surgery to place dental implants. In sinus-lift surgery, the specialist adds bone to the upper jaw in the region of the molars and premolars. It is also referred to as sinus augmentation, notes Colgate.
Reasons why a patient may need a sinus lift include bone loss from periodontal disease, tooth loss in the upper jaw and the maxillary sinus being too close to the upper jaw for implant placement, explains Colgate.
The specialist may choose to use the patient's own bone for this procedure. He may take this bone from elsewhere within the mouth or from another body part, such as the hip or tibia. Alternatively, the specialist may take bone from a cadaver or from a cow, states Colgate.
In sinus augmentation, the specialist cuts the gum tissue in the region where the back teeth used to be. He then raises the tissue to expose the bone. The next step is for the specialist to open a small, oval window in the bone and gently push the membrane lining the sinus on the other side of the window up and away from the jaw. He then puts granules of bone-graft material in the cavity where the sinus used to be. The specialist then closes the tissue with stitches, notes Colgate.
Specialists usually place Implants four to nine months after the sinus augmentation, so the grafted material has had enough time to mesh with the bone, states Colgate.