Sinuses are a connected system of air filled cavities in the skull. Your cheekbones hold the maxillary sinuses on either side of your nose. Normally the sinuses are empty except for a thin layer of tissue that lines the cavities.
As we age, our sinuses become larger. When teeth are extracted near the sinuses the sinus floor conforms, and the result is a decrease in the height for implant placement.
As a rule, the longer you are without teeth near the sinuses and the older you are, the greater your chance of losing the height needed for an implant.
For this reason, surgeons commonly complete a sinus lift procedure whereby bone is added to the floor of the sinus.
There are different types of lifts that can be completed depending on the amount of bone that is already there. A lift can be completed at the same time as the implant placement in most cases (indirect lift). In patients who have very little bone in the sinuses, an open direct lift is needed. For these patient’s, bone is added through a small window and a waiting period of approximately 6 months is needed before implant placement.
Most patients prefer to be sedated for the procedure, but it can also be completed with local numbing.