A Sinus Lift Can Improve Your Chances for Implant Success

In order for a dental implant to be successful, patients need a minimal amount of jawbone tissue to support it. However, even if your jawbone has weakened in the wake of lost teeth, a bone graft can encourage new growth. If you are hoping to replace teeth in the upper jaw, you may need a specialized type of bone graft called a sinus lift or augmentation.  Dr. Ben Ahlbrecht of North Meridian Dental Excellence in Indianapolis, IN, performs sinus lifts to help patients achieve the excellent result they expect.

Why a Sinus Lift May Be Necessary

The upper back jaw is an anatomically challenging area for implant placement. When the maxillary sinus just above the jaw is exceptionally large and extends down to the jaw, a condition known as pneumatization, there may be virtually no upper jawbone available to support an implant. The thinness of the bone can be further exacerbated by previous bone loss caused by gum disease. In such cases, the sinus lift is necessary to create enough supporting bone to allow the implants to be successfully placed.

Demonstration of the space a sinus lift creates in the upper jaw
A sinus lift is intended to raise the floor of the maxillary sinus just enough to accommodate a bone graft in the upper jaw.

Understanding the Procedure

The sinus lift can be comfortably performed using local anesthesia. For patients who wish to be relaxed, Dr. Ahlbrecht can provide nitrous oxide and oral sedation. The procedure is accomplished by exposing the bone adjacent to the sinus and making a small opening. The membrane lining the sinus is then gently moved upward to make room for bone grafting material.

Once the graft is securely placed, the incision is closed with sutures and the patient is dismissed. The sinus lift is usually performed several months before implant placement to allow the bone graft to mature, but sometimes it can be done in conjunction with implant surgery.


Sinus lift patients can expect many of the side effects typical of dental surgery. These include mild discomfort, facial swelling, bruising, and a modest amount of residual bleeding. Patients will be advised to go home after surgery and rest with their head elevated. They should apply an ice pack before they leave the dental office, if possible. They are further advised not to blow their nose for a period of at least four weeks, as this can displace the graft.

It is important to take all of your antibiotic medications, exactly as prescribed, in order to ensure that all bacteria have been eliminated.

It is a good idea to take the pain medication Dr. Ahlbrecht will prescribe before the numbness has worn off, so it can take effect before the feeling returns. Patients should take it only for as long as necessary and then discontinue it. However, it is important to take all of your antibiotic medications, exactly as prescribed, in order to ensure that all bacteria have been eliminated. The healing time necessary before the implants can be placed will vary, but most patients can expect to wait a minimum of four months, and possibly longer.

Improve Your Chances for Successful Treatment

Those interested in knowing more about sinus lifts are encouraged to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Ahlbrecht. He and his staff are dedicated to improving the dental health of their patients while making them feel at home. Contact them online or call the office at (317) 571-5000.

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"North Meridian Dental Excellence is great! They've somehow cracked the code on making a trip to the dentist an enjoyable experience. Dr. Ahlbrecht and his team are all great to work with. Everyone is extremely friendly, nice and fun, while maintaining a professional, clean and private environment."

Nick E.


Indianapolis Office

8902 N Meridian St
Ste 102
Indianapolis, IN 46260

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