The upper jaw has several qualities that make it unique to grafting as well as the placement of implants. The most significant difference in the upper jaw when compared to the lower jaw lies in the presence of the “maxillary sinus”.
The maxillary sinus is one of the several natural air spaces that are anatomically present in all human skulls. Its biological purpose is to warm, moisturize and filter air when we breathe. While the maxillary sinus is most often only noticed when one has a cold or infection, it can impose itself on the roots of the teeth in the upper jaw.
When a tooth is lost, the result may be the presence of very little bone between the oral cavity and this air space. In turn, this can make the placement of an implant in the back of the upper jaw a slightly bigger project when in comparison to other areas of the jaw. Fortunately, a relatively simple solution has been developed to handle this problem and render a safe, effective and stable result for placing implants.
The “sinus lift procedure” has been performed now for many years to allow implants to be used as a replacement for maxillary molars. It does not have an adverse effect on the sinuses.
The grafting procedure is performed by making a small window in the sinus above the roots of the upper jaw teeth. The integrity of the membrane lining the sinus is not violated but instead is teased upward to form a small cavity or balloon like space that can be filled with bone substitute (BioOss®LINK). A period of six to nine months is required for this bone to consolidate after having formed a scaffold for natural bone replacement, after which dental implants are placed.