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What is a Sinus Lift?

What is a Sinus Lift?

Pneumatized sinus

You’ve come to the dentist for a dental implant and your dentist tells you that you need a lift. A sinus lift. What in the world is that?

The maxillary sinus is an empty air-filled cavity in our skulls that humidifies air when we breathe. The sinus has a very close relationship with our upper back teeth, which is why your teeth sometimes hurt when you have a sinus infection!

It is very common for there to be minimal jaw-bone present in the upper back teeth area, especially if the teeth have been missing for a long time. The sinus tends to expand over time into areas where teeth have been missing. The technical term is called “pneumatization of the sinus.” If you want a dental implant and you have a pneumatized sinus, you often need a special type of bone graft called a sinus lift in order to have enough bone to place a dental implant.

Can you see on the CT scan the large cup-shaped area where this patient’s sinus has pneumatized (RED ARROWS)? We will show how a sinus lift treated this case to allow for the placement of dental implants.

Pre-Operation CT Scan Planning

Preoperative CT planning for sinus graft

This Preoperative CT shows where we want to be able to place our implant. There is currently only 1.5mm’s of bone present, which means the sinus graft needs to grow more than 12mm’s height of bone in order to place this dental implant. The RED ARROWS show the area of the sinus that needs to be lifted and grafted.

Next let’s take a look at the CT scan taken after the sinus graft.

Post-Operation CT Scan (After Sinus Lift)

Postop CT Scan – After Sinus Lift

This CT was taken four months after sinus graft surgery.  You can clearly see the result of the bone graft and how there is now plenty of bone height for dental implants. The person is now ready to have their dental implants placed.

Without the ability to lift the sinus membrane and re-grow bone that was lost due to sinus pneumatization, implants would not have been possible for this patient.

Final Surgery with Implants Placed

Final surgery for sinus graft with implants

Now that the sinus graft has healed, the dental implants are placed into the correct areas to support the teeth.  The X-Ray’s show the placement of the implants, which was all pre-planned using our 3D software.

After three months of healing, these implants will be restored with the abutment and crown.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about dental implants and sinus lifts, visit our website here. And if you need to schedule a consultation, please call our offices and we are more than happy to help you!