Inside the head , above the upper teeth is a hollow space called the maxillary sinus. When teeth have been missing for a while, and sometimes even if they are still there,the sinus floor often drops down. This leaves little bone hight. If we do not have a minimum amount of hight and width, we can not place the implant. In recent years there have been some tremendous advances in bone grafting procedures. This is called sinus lifts.
Types of sinus lifts
We have two basic types , open and closed sinus lifts, and each has its own pros and cons. The goal of each type is to raise the membrane on the floor of the sinus, place the desired amount of bone graft materiel and stitch the gums shut over the site.
The closed sinus lifts is done through the socket of an extracted tooth. It is a little less aggressive surgery than an open lift but since you are working through the socket, you are blind. It is impossible to see exactly what is happening all the way up there. One concern is not to perforate the sinus membrane and you simply can’t see if you did or not.
The open sinus lift is done through the side of the upper jaw.
A small window is made exposing the side and bottom of the sinus. Now, with direct vision and good lighting, we can gently raise the sinus floor, add the exact amount of bone desired. Easily place our membrane for good healing, and suture it shut.
How Difficult Is It ?
While all of this sounds serious, it has become a routine dental procedure in recent years. With, proper post graduate training, it is something and experienced clinician does with ease. There can be some post operative discomfort, but good pain medication can minimize any suffering.
Overall, it is a dependable excellent procedure, that allows us to place implants into most sites in the upper jaw.