Sinus Augmentation and Dental Implants

The dental office of Dr. Frantz Backer in Jackson Heights, New York, Advanced Dentistry of New York, frequently deals with dental emergencies like broken and decayed teeth, broken dentures, and dental abscesses. Dr. Backer is able to solve a variety of dental issues for patients, but some problems require a great deal of preparation and numerous procedures. In many cases, installing dental implants requires a pre-implant procedure known as sinus augmentation. This is a procedure that adds bone to the upper jaw near your molars. Sinus augmentation greatly increases the chance that implants will be successfully installed and operational for years to come. To create room for the bone addition, the sinus membrane is lifted. This gives additional space for the implants to be installed. This surgery is typically performed by a periodontist or maxillofacial surgeon, prior to the installation of the dental implants.

Why Bone is Lost

There are a number of reasons why the jaw bone may be inadequate for the installation of the dental implant. If the implant needs to be installed in the upper jaw, an augmentation may be needed because the upper jaw has less bone than the lower jaw. Another cause of bone loss is gum disease. As teeth are removed from the mouth because of decay or crowding issues, the bone that the tooth was attached to is absorbed back into the body. If, years later, the space is needed for an implant, an augmentation can restore the bone that was once there. In some cases, the augmentation is not needed because bone was lost, but because of the natural size and shape of a person’s sinus. This varies from person to person, and the size of the sinuses also change as a person ages. Regardless of why the augmentation is needed, the dentist and surgeon will want to make sure the conditions in your mouth are ideal for comfortable implant installation.

How the Procedure is Done

When you and your dentist decide to install dental implants, you will be sent for a consultation with the surgeon. X-rays of your jaw and sinus will enable the doctor to measure the height and width of the existing bone. This also allows the doctor to make sure your sinus is healthy enough for the operation.

The bone used in the surgery may be taken from a cadaver or it may be taken from your own body. Often, bone from your hip or tibia are used. Whether or not a personal bone or cadaver bone will be used for the augmentation varies from person to person, usually depending on overall health.

After the bone is ready, the surgeon cuts the gum tissue in the appropriate area, creating a window and exposing the area of the mouth to be augmented. There is a membrane lining the sinus on the other side of the window that separates the jaw and the sinus. This lining is pushed away from the jaw and material from the bone from the cadaver or the patient’s body is packed into the space. In most cases, several millimeters worth of bone material are used to fill the space. Once the packing is done, the gum tissue is moved back into place and the area is stitched up.


Following the augmentation, you will experience bleeding and swelling. Activities like blowing your nose and sneezing will be limited in order to prevent a shifting of the new bone material. Some patients are given a saline mist that is sprayed into the nose to keep it wet and prevent sneezing. The surgeon will also prescribe a pain medication and an antimicrobial mouthwash following the procedure. Severe pain is uncommon, but you may experience mild discomfort in the days following the procedure. If you have a worsening of swelling or pain in the days following the procedure, you should contact your surgeon. Other things to be concerned about include developing a fever, excessive bleeding or bleeding that continues for more than two days following the surgery, or suspecting you may have dislodged the material due to sneezing.

Installing the Implant

The augmented area will need to heal for several months before the implant can be installed. This healing time gives the grafted bone the chance to bond with the existing bone, creating a sturdy structure in which to complete the implantation.

If you have concerns about sinus augmentation, contact an experienced, knowledgeable dentist like Dr. Frantz Backer. He will be able to explain the procedure and refer you to a qualified surgeon.

*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

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