A sinus augmentation (sinus lift) is necessary when there is insufficient bone height in the upper jaw to support dental implants. Anatomically, there are air-filled cavities called maxillary sinuses located above the posterior teeth in the upper jaw. Due to genetics and sometimes a natural process called pneumatization, patients that have lost their upper posterior teeth do not have adequate bone for the anchorage of dental implants.
In instances where a smaller increase in bone height is needed, a minimally invasive procedure called a crestal (internal) sinus lift can be performed at the time of implant placement. If a larger increase in volume and height of bone is necessary, a lateral window sinus augmentation approach will be indicated. In most cases, an implant can be placed at the same time of the sinus augmentation.
Prior to performing a sinus lift procedure, Dr. Rasmussen will conduct a thorough medical, clinical and radiographic evaluation. A 3D cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan will be taken so that Dr. Rasmussen can assess the health and anatomy of the sinus(es).
During a sinus augmentation procedure Dr. Rasmussen will make a small incision in the gums, which will allow him to make a small opening (window) in the bone to access the sinus membrane. The membrane is gently lifted using special instrumentation and the bone graft is placed in the opened space, after which the area is sutured closed.
Although the sinus augmentation procedure is very predictable and comfortable to undergo, it should only be performed by a highly skilled surgeon with advanced training such as Dr. Rasmussen.
In the before 3D image (top right), only 1mm of bone height is noted in the right maxillary sinus. The 3D image taken after (bottom right) sinus augmentation and implant placement shows the bone height to be approximately 13mm. This large increase in bone volume and quality allows for the placement, long-term stability and health of a dental implant.