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.
The Sinus Augmentation Procedure:
The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. 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.
In most cases, the sinus augmentation can be performed at the same time of implant placement. A small bone graft is placed near the base of the sinus and the graft is elevated to allow the implant to be placed fully in bone. If there is not enough bone for simultaneous placement, a separate procedure will need to be performed prior to implant placement.
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.