A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root which is attached to the jaw bone. Eventually, a replacement tooth or bridge will be firmly fixed to this root, restoring complete function to the tooth. The key to a successful and long-lasting implant is the quality and quantity of bone in which the implant will be placed. If bone has been lost due to injury, tooth loss, sinus pneumatization or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor to allow for new bone formation.
In the most common sinus augmentation technique, an incision is made near the upper premolar or molar region to expose the bone. A small opening is cut into the bone and the membrane lining the sinus on the other side of the opening is gently pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone graft material and the incision is closed. The bone which is used for this procedure may be from your own body or from a cadaver. Sometimes the dentist might use synthetic materials which can also stimulate bone formation. The implants can be placed at the time of the sinus lift, or are placed after healing has occurred; this will depend on the individual case. Sinus augmentation has been shown to increase the success of dental implant procedures, and some patients notice improvement in "sinus" related symptoms after this elevation procedure.