A sinus lift is surgery that adds bone to your upper jaw in the area of your molars and premolars. It's sometimes called a sinus augmentation. The bone is added between your jaw and the maxillary sinuses, which are on either side of your nose. To make room for the bone, the sinus membrane has to be moved upward, or "lifted."
The maxillary sinuses behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth, are empty, air-filled spaces. Some roots of the natural teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses, and when those teeth are removed there is only a thin wall of bone separating the mouth from the sinus. When the sinus wall is thin, it becomes impossible to place dental implants into the bone. Therefore, a sinus lift becomes the preferred bone grafting procedure, as it grows bone on the floor of the maxillary sinus above the bony ridge of the gum line to anchor the teeth in the upper jaw.
With a sinus lift, the bone not only grows, but is strengthened in this location, allowing dental implants to be placed and secured in the new bone.
There are several reasons why patients require a sinus lift. These reasons include:
- Many people who have lost teeth in their upper jaw do not have enough bone for implants to be placed.
- Bone may have been lost because of periodontal disease.
- Tooth loss may have led to a loss of bone as well. If teeth have been missing for a long time, there often is not enough bone left to place implants.
- The maxillary sinus may be too close to the upper jaw for implants to be placed.