Sinus Augmentation

What is the Maxillary Sinus?

The maxillary sinus is a natural space present behind your cheeks and on top of the roots of the upper back teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces lined by a thin soft tissue membrane. The roots of the upper back teeth often extend into the maxillary sinuses. After the tooth is lost, the sinus tends to grow into space previously occupied by the root(s) of the tooth.  This leads to having limited bone thickness between the air-filled sinus and the mouth. Dental implants are screws that are held in place by the bone. If there is insufficient bone between the mouth and the sinus, implant placement is not possible.  Sinus elevation procedures are performed to increase the thickness of bone to allow for the proper anchoring of a dental implant.

The Sinus Augmentation Procedure

Having sufficient bone volume is important to achieve successful and long-lasting dental implants.  Bone loss can occur due to infection, injury, periodontal disease, or due to the natural tendency of the jaw bone to shrink after an extraction.  These situations can lead to insufficient bone for implant placement in the upper posterior region.  Sinus augmentation is performed to raise the sinus floor stimulating new bone formation, and allowing for the placement of dental implants.

Two basic techniques are generally used for sinus augmentation procedures: 

  • Crestal approach:  This is a less invasive technique used when there is only mild bone deficiency.  The sinus is approached through the small opening created in the bone for the installation of the dental implant.  A bone graft is generally placed through the opening, increasing the distance between the mouth and the sinus. The dental implant is installed during the same procedure.
  • Lateral window approach:  This technique is used in cases where the bone deficiency is more severe, and greater bone volume is needed for the successful installation of dental implants.  Bone grafting material is placed through a small window made on the thin lateral wall of the maxillary sinus.  If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure.  If not enough bone is available, the sinus graft will have to mature for 6-9 months before being able to install the dental implants.

Sinus augmentation procedures allow us to replace upper posterior teeth with fixed dental implants.  The maxillary sinus tends to respond very well to augmentation procedures; this area has a natural tendency to produce bone after grafting. 

Use of short dental implants

Some newer implant surfaces and implant designs lead to stronger and more rapid integration of the implant with the surrounding bone.  In some cases, this allows us to place shorter implants avoiding the need for extensive bone grafting and sinus augmentation, while maintaining very high success rates.

Dr. Ronderos will evaluate your condition and present your treatment options in detail.  We only use implant systems and materials backed by extensive scientific evidence.