Been told you need a sinus lift and bone graft? A brief guide to these pre-implant procedures

When you decide to approach your dentist about oral implants, one of the first things they will tell you is that in order for the implant to be successfully placed, you need to have bone that is of good quality and quantity.

The bone in question is the jawbone, and in relation to your implants, this means that both your upper and lower jaw have to be in good shape depending on how many implants you are having and where they will be placed.

However, the jawbone tends to shrink once natural teeth are extracted or fall out. And, in the cases of people who have lost many teeth many years prior to approaching their dentist about dental implants in Melbourne, it may be too thin and brittle to work with successfully.

Luckily, there are a few ways your dentist can get around this and help you to get those gaps in your smile filled to enhance it. In this article, sinus lifts and bone grafting into the upper jaw will be explored.

What is a bone graft?

When it comes to dental implants and having them fitted, if your dentist decides your jawbone is too thin to proceed with endosteal implants, they may suggest either a different implant type or a bone graft.

Bone grafts involve taking a piece of bone from somewhere else in the body, usually the shin and placing it under the gum line to create a wider and stronger base. Your dentist may take the graft from another person, an animal or it may be prosthetic.

Once your dentist has placed the graft, there will be a waiting period to ensure that your body hasn’t rejected it. Also, in a similar way that a dental implant needs to merge with your bone once fitted, so does the bone graft.

Sinus lifts

Unfortunately, as is often the way with the upper jaw, there may not be an adequate amount of room to fit a bone graft comfortably.

In this instance, your dentist may suggest a sinus lift.

As a membrane, your sinus can be moved with relative ease, making room for the bone graft which will support the implants. Of course, with the additional surgeries, the entire implant fitting will take a bit longer than initially predicted.

How is a sinus lift performed?

As intimidating as it may sound, a sinus lift is actually fairly straightforward.

Your dentist will numb the upper jaw and will then use a small incision to expose the bone. Once they have access to the sinus cavity, they will move your sinus up the predetermined height to make room for the bone graft.

When the graft is successfully placed, your gums will then be sutured back and the upper jaw will be left to heal for about 3 months.

How long after will the implants be fitted?

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Once your sinus is lifted and the graft has merged with the bone, your dentist will aim to fit your implants in about 6 months’ time.


All dental treatments carry potential risks. Contact your local dental team for more information about the procedures mentioned in this article.

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