What is a Sinus Graft?
The maxillary sinus is behind your cheek and on top of the upper teeth. This sinus is an empty, air-filled space. Sometimes the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often insufficient bone height to support dental implants.
The key to successful and long-lasting dental implants is the quality and quantity of the jawbone that surrounds the implants. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation. A sinus graft is one of the most common bone grafting procedures for patients with bone loss in the upper jaw. The procedure seeks to grow bone in the floor of the maxillary sinus above the bony ridge of the gum line that anchors the teeth in the upper jaw. By strengthening and growing bone in this location, dental implants can be placed and secured in the new bone growth.
Am I a Candidate for a Sinus Graft Procedure?
A sinus lift may be necessary if you:
- are missing a tooth in the back of your upper jaw.
- are missing a significant amount of bone in the back of your jaw.
- are missing teeth due to a birth defect or condition.
- are missing most of the maxillary teeth, but require support for dental implants.
How is this Oral Surgery Accomplished?
In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, an incision is made in the gums over the upper back jaw to expose the jawbone. A small window is created in the bone adjacent to the sinus. The membrane lining the sinus is then pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material, either from your own body or from a cadaver. After the bone is placed, the incision is stitched up and the healing process begins. After several months of healing, the bone graft becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted.
If enough bone is present between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus to stabilize the implant, sinus augmentation and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. 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.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option besides wearing loose dentures.
A sinus augmentation is generally performed at Dr. Eggert‘s office, under general anesthesia.