The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty bowls with a lining on the bottom. 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. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone. The goal of the procedure is to lift the lining (also called a "membrane") up so that more bone can be>developed in the area to support an implant.
Dr. Cohen typically enters the area from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and bone graft material is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient's jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone. The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants. This offers vast improvements overdentures that may become loose over time and make talking and chewing difficult.
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 Augmentation will have to be performed first and the implants placed after a delayed period of time (usually 6-9 months).