A sinus lift, also known as a sinus augmentation, is a procedure employed by periodontists and oral surgeons to increase the amount of bone in the upper molar areas in preparation for placement of dental implants. This procedure only pertains to patients who want implants in the upper molar areas. Why would a patient need a sinus augmentation procedure prior to implant placement?
Basically, after the upper molars are removed (extracted), the sinus cavity tends to drift closer to the jawbone ridge. Over time, the borders of the sinus cavity may drift so close to the crest of the jaw that there may not be enough bone to place implants. By "lifting up" the membrane that covers the sinus floor, the surgeon is able to add bone graft material into the sinus cavity, which will later be replaced by your own natural bone.
After allowing 3-9 months for the bone graft to become solid and mature, dental implants can be placed. In some cases, implants can be placed at the time of the sinus lift procedure; however, that decision is up to the discretion of the surgeon.
The sinus augmentation procedure is a safe and predictable method to increase the amount of bone necessary for dental implants.