Sinus Augmentation

There are times when planning dental implants in the upper jaw becomes slightly more complicated because of the involvement of the maxillary sinus. The maxillary sinus is located directly above the roots of the 4 or 5 back teeth in the upper jaw. The sinus is in intimate contact with the roots of the upper teeth in many people. If an implant is to be placed in the upper jaw to replace a missing tooth, the sinus must be considered. In many cases, it must be pushed upward to make space for the dental implant.
Although you may imagine this procedure as invasive, it is fairly straightforward and simple. Dr. Richardson has been trained in multiple techniques of what is referred to as "sinus lifting" or "sinus augmentation". If a tooth needs to be extracted and the sinus is located above the roots, a socket preservation procedure will be recommended to keep the sinus from dropping down into the space where the tooth once was. This should provide adequate space for the future dental implant.
In the case where a tooth or multiple teeth have been missing from the upper jaw for many years, quite often we will find that the sinus has fallen down and occupied the space where the teeth used to be. This is a process called "pneumatization". In this case, a sinus lift will be recommended to provide the necessary vertical volume of bone to place the implant either immediately or at a later date.

Maxillary Sinuses

In order to understand the sinus lift procedures, it is important to have a working knowledge of the anatomy of the maxillary sinus. There are multiple sinus cavities in our skull. There are 2 maxillary sinuses (one on each side of our head) and they are the largest. A sinus is a large air space in our skull that is lined with a soft tissue membrane between the airspace and the surrounding bone. It is believed that our sinuses have grown over time so that our head weighs less and we as human could evolve into standing upright. When we alter the position of the sinus, we are actually working in the space between the tissue membrane and the bone. Care is taken not to perforate the sinus membrane and access the airspace. 
There are multiple techniques for sinus lifting. Periodontist, Dr. Richardson, will be able to recommend the appropriate technique based upon your individual needs.

Click on the following links to learn more about the types of sinus lifting. 
Direct Sinus Lift
Indirect Sinus Lift