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What Is a Sinus Lift?

The maxillary sinuses are behind the 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.

Since dental implants need solid bone to hold them in place, a sinus lift procedure is performed to grow bone in the area.

A sinus lift may be necessary if patients are missing more than one tooth, missing a significant amount of bone in the back of the jaw, missing most of the maxillary teeth, or missing teeth due to a birth defect or other condition.

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Sinus Lift Procedure

A sinus lift procedure makes it possible for patients to have dental implants when years ago the only option was dentures.

In the most common sinus lift procedure, a small cut is made into the jawbone. The membrane lining the sinus is pushed upward, and the underlying space is filled with bone grafting material. After the bone is implanted, the incision is stitched. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw, and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in the new sinus bone.

Sometimes sinus augmentations and implant placement can be performed at the same time if there is enough bone available to stabilize the implant.

This procedure is generally performed in the office under local anesthesia. Some patients request oral or intravenous sedatives as well.

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