Sinus Surgery: Regenerating Bone for Dental Implants

Regenerating bone sounds like something out of science fiction, but there is a proven process to treat bone loss in the upper jaw. Sinus surgery, also known as sinus membrane lift or sinus augmentation, is a common procedure in restorative dentistry that encourages bone growth. The treatment allows for dental implants, which are the preferred treatment to replace missing or failing upper back teeth.

Many people end up with insufficient bone in their upper jaw after an extended period of time following a tooth extraction. Not enough bone means no way to anchor dental implants, which means settling for removable dentures. Given that dental implants are the preferred treatment for restoring natural teeth function, sinus surgery can be an important first step toward a stronger smile. If you are considering different options for your teeth, it’s just a matter of chatting with your dentist to see if sinus surgery is a viable option for you.

Here are a few important, frequently asked questions that may help clarify things before scheduling an appointment in our Chanhassen office:

Why Would Someone Have Insufficient Bone for A Dental Implant?

Upper back teeth are supported by the bone of the upper jaw. Inside the upper jaw are sinus cavities, and these vary in size and shape from person to person. They could even vary from one side of the jaw to the other!

The bone in your jaw needs stimulation to stay strong, and your teeth provide that stimulation. When teeth are lost, the bone loses stimulation along with new bone cells in that area, resulting in lower density and volume. Gum disease could also contribute to bone reduction, especially if you lost a tooth as a result.

How Does Sinus Surgery Actually Regenerate Bone?

When a patient’s sinus cavity is accessed, bone graft material is placed under the sinus membrane. The grafted material will eventually be covered by and/or converted into the body’s own bone, and the dental implant will be placed into the new bone.

What Is The Procedure Like?

Before any surgery, your dentist checks your sinus with X-rays. This will provide your dentist with information on the extent and type of surgery necessary. The procedure itself is carried out under local anesthesia, and it is performed inside the mouth in the area just above the missing back teeth. Based on how much bone a patient has, there are two variations of sinus surgery. 

The “Osteotome” Technique

If there is sufficient bone in the jaw to stabilize a dental implant, but not fully anchor it, your dentist will recommend this more minor treatment. During this procedure, the sinus membrane will be gently raised through the implant site by adding a small amount of bone graft material. The dental implant will be also placed in the same procedure.

The “Lateral Window” Technique


If there is little or even no bone, the sinus cavity will be accessed from inside the mouth on the cheek-side of the sinus. The grafting material will be placed, and the window will be closed and left to heal for six or more months to grow sufficient bone before adding dental implants.

What Are The benefits of Dental Implants?


Dental implants can have life-changing effects for those living with missing back teeth. Implants not only help restore the ability to eat, chew, and talk, but they also provide cheek support and facial height. Many patients who’ve received dental implants boast positive changes in their health and quality of life, including being able to fully smile!

Is Sinus Surgery Right for You?


If you are considering dental implants or sinus surgery, our team at Bluff Creek Dental is always available to answer any questions you may have. We encourage you to contact us at our Chanhassen, MN office to schedule an appointment!