african man visiting dentist for dental checkup

Sinus augmentation, also known as a sinus lift, is a surgical procedure that adds bone to your upper jaw so that you can have dental implants. Performed by a periodontist, sinus augmentation raises the sinus floor to allow room for bone to develop below it. To do this, your periodontist adds bone between your maxillary sinuses and your jaw.

Sinuses are air-filled spaces. You have four pairs of paranasal sinuses surrounding the nasal cavity near your eyes and nose. Sinus augmentation involves the pair of maxillary sinuses, which are located just under your eyes on each side of your nose. To make room for the bone, the periodontist must move up or “lift” the sinuses.

Reasons Your Periodontist May Recommend Sinus Augmentation

Your periodontist may recommend sinus augmentation if there is not enough bone height in your upper jaw to support dental implants. Several factors influence bone height; you may have one or more of these factors.

You may have lost teeth in your upper jaw, particularly in your molars at the back of your mouth. Because of the anatomy of the human skull, the back of your upper jaw contains very little bone compared with your lower jaw. Sinus augmentation creates extra bone to support the implanted teeth.

A periodontist may recommend sinus augmentation if you had periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, resulting in the loss of a tooth. Periodontal disease can also cause bone loss. Losing a tooth can also cause bone loss in that, once teeth are missing, your body begins to absorb the bone that used to surround the teeth. If your teeth have been missing for a long time, there may not be enough bone remaining to support dental implants.

Your maxillary sinus may be located too close to your upper jaw for the placement of dental implants. The size and shape of sinuses vary from person to person, and your sinuses can even get larger as you age.

Periodontists and oral surgeons have been performing more sinus augmentations lately, as more people choose dental implants to replace missing teeth. Your periodontist can help you decide if sinus augmentation is right for you.

Sinus Augmentation Might be Right for You

Sinus augmentation may be right for you if you are willing to invest time in the quality smile and secure chewing abilities that only dental implants can provide. It takes time for the bony material time to integrate with your jaw and harden. Depending on the grafting material your periodontist uses in your sinus augmentation procedure, you will need to wait four to nine months after a sinus lift for placement of your implants.

There are three types of bone used in sinus augmentation:

  • Autogenous bone that comes from your own body
  • Allogenic bone that comes from a donor
  • Xenograft bone that comes from cow bone

Each type of graft material has its benefits. Your periodontist can help you decide which sinus augmentation material is right for you.

Autogenous bone grafts are the historical standard of bone grafting materials. Since the bone comes from your own body, your immune system will readily accept the transferred cells. Because your periodontist will harvest the bone cells from your body, usually from the hip or the tibia bone just below the knee, autogenous bone grafts require two surgeries. Autogenous bone grafts may be the right approach to sinus augmentation for you if you are willing to undergo two procedures and are concerned about rejection.

Allograft or xenograft may be right for you if you prefer to avoid the first procedure to harvest bone cells. During an allograft bone graft, our periodontist will transfer purified bone from a human cadaver. In xenograft, bone will serve as a scaffold onto which your body will grow new bone cells.

Sinus augmentation may be right for you if you are willing to undergo imaging tests, such as x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scan, which allows your periodontist to study the anatomy of your jaw and sinus. Your periodontist will use the images to measure the height and width of your existing bone accurately, and evaluate the health of your sinuses.

The procedure may be right for you if you do not have seasonal allergies, or if you can schedule the procedure when your seasonal allergies are not active.

Sinus augmentation might be right for you if you want all the convenience and aesthetic appeal of dental implants to replace missing teeth but do not have enough bone in your upper jaw to support the implanted teeth. Make an appointment with our periodontist at VIP Vero Implants & Periodontics.