Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing or damaged teeth, as they provide patients with a more permanent, easier to maintain, and less embarrassing alternative to removable dentures. However, for dental implants to stay fitted and secured to your upper jaw, you will need a sufficient amount of bone for the implants to be attached to. Patients seeking implants who don’t have the required amount of bone mass can undergo a sinus lift procedure to allow for increased bone density.

What is a sinus lift?

A sinus lift, or a maxillary sinus floor augmentation, is a surgical procedure that lifts the maxillary sinus, the sinuses that sit closest to our molar and premolar teeth, to make space for additional bone in the upper jaw. This is done by cutting a small hole into the bone to reach the sinus cavity which is then gently pushed upwards. The hole is then filled with bone grafted from the patient, donor, or with artificial bone, and is stitched back up. Patients are typically under anesthetic during the 60- to 90-minute procedure and fully recover within 2-3 days.

This procedure is quite common for patients receiving dental implants and allows those who would otherwise be ineligible for such a procedure to enjoy a more permanent, natural-looking smile.

Why do you need so much bone?

When a patient doesn’t have enough natural bone, there is nothing for the implants to securely attach to, which increases the risk of implant failure. Imagine if you were to hang up a heavy shelf. If you only screwed it into thin drywall, the shelf would quickly fall. However, when you screw it into the studs, you provide a thick, substantial structure to secure your shelf to, causing it to stay in place and last through years of use.

Mounting dental implants has much of the same logic. To keep a tight and secure fit, you’ll need a thick jawbone to screw the implants into. This way, your dental implants will last through years of use and won’t become loose or cause damage to your jaw and sinuses.

Why isn’t there enough bone in my jaw currently?

As soon as a tooth is removed or has fallen out, the density of the bone that had previously held it in place begins to decrease rapidly. So, even if you had a sufficient amount of bone before, that could change quite quickly. Other reasons why you might not have enough bone in your upper jaw could be due to damage or trauma to the jaw, a cyst or tumor, symptoms of periodontitis, or because you have a naturally thin jaw bone or large sinus cavities.

Who can perform a sinus lift?

Your surgical team at Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery will help you determine whether or not a sinus lift is needed before providing dental implants. Your sinus lift procedure can be done in the same office as your dental implants, and the oral surgeon performing the procedure will walk you through what to expect before, during, and after surgery.

Contact our Bucks County offices in Newtown and Feasterville today. We’ll be happy to provide you with more information regarding dental implants and sinus lift surgery.