Duration: 11 minutes, 4 seconds

Author: Dr. Giorgio Tabanella

Sinus Elevation with a Lateral Approach: Increasing Bone Availability for Dental Implants

When it comes to dental implants in the upper jaw, sometimes there may not be enough bone available to support these implants. In such cases, a surgical procedure known as sinus elevation is performed. Sinus elevation aims to increase the amount of bone present in the upper jaw, providing a stable foundation for dental implants. One commonly used approach for sinus elevation is the lateral approach, which involves making an incision in the gum tissue on the side of the jaw to access the sinus cavity.

The Importance of Sinus Elevation

Dental implants are an effective and durable solution for replacing missing teeth. However, successful implantation requires adequate bone density and volume. Unfortunately, the upper jaw often lacks sufficient bone due to natural bone resorption or the presence of the sinus cavity. Sinus elevation is a technique that addresses this issue by creating additional space for bone grafts. By increasing bone availability, sinus elevation makes dental implantation in the upper jaw possible.

The Lateral Approach: A Surgical Technique for Sinus Elevation

In sinus elevation with a lateral approach, the oral surgeon begins by making a small incision in the gum tissue on the side of the jaw where the dental implant is planned. This incision allows access to the sinus cavity. Care is taken to ensure that the incision is precise and minimally invasive, reducing post-operative discomfort and promoting faster healing.

Elevation of the Sinus Membrane

After the incision is made, the surgeon gently lifts the sinus membrane. The sinus membrane is a thin and delicate tissue that separates the sinus cavity from the oral cavity. By gently lifting the membrane, the surgeon gains access to the space where bone graft material will be placed. This procedure is performed with precision and utmost care to avoid any damage to the membrane.

Bone Grafting: Promoting New Bone Growth

With the sinus membrane gently elevated, bone graft material is placed in the space created. The bone graft serves as a scaffold for new bone growth and integration. The graft material may be sourced from the patient’s own body (autogenous graft), an artificial source (alloplastic graft), or a combination of both. The choice of graft material depends on the specific needs of the patient and the surgeon’s expertise.

Closing the Incision and Post-Operative Care

Once the bone graft material is in place, the surgeon carefully closes the incision with sutures. These sutures ensure proper healing and reduce the risk of infection. The patient will be given specific post-operative care instructions, which may include guidelines for oral hygiene, dietary restrictions, and pain management. Adhering to these instructions is crucial for successful healing and the long-term success of the dental implant.

High Success Rates and Improved Quality of Life

Sinus elevation with a lateral approach has shown high success rates in patients seeking dental implants in the upper jaw. The procedure not only increases the availability of bone for implant placement but also enhances the stability and longevity of the implants. With proper healing and integration of the bone grafts, patients can enjoy the benefits of a restored smile, improved chewing efficiency, and enhanced overall oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is sinus elevation a painful procedure?

Sinus elevation with a lateral approach is performed under local anesthesia, ensuring that the patient is comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. Post-operative discomfort can be managed with prescribed medication, and any discomfort typically subsides within a few days.

2. How long does it take for the bone grafts to integrate?

The integration of bone grafts can vary among individuals. Generally, it takes several months for the bone grafts to fully integrate with the existing bone. The surgeon will closely monitor the integration progress during follow-up appointments.

3. Are there any risks or complications associated with sinus elevation?

As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved. However, sinus elevation with a lateral approach is considered safe when performed by a skilled and experienced oral surgeon. Potential complications, such as infection or damage to neighboring structures, are rare and can be minimized through proper pre-operative planning and post-operative care.

4. Can anyone undergo sinus elevation with a lateral approach?

Candidates for sinus elevation with a lateral approach are patients who lack sufficient bone volume in the upper jaw for dental implant placement. The suitability of this procedure for an individual is determined through a comprehensive oral examination and imaging studies, which help assess bone quality and quantity.

5. How long do dental implants last after sinus elevation?

Dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime with proper maintenance and oral hygiene. Sinus elevation, by providing a solid foundation for the implants, contributes to their long-term success. Regular dental check-ups and proper oral care are essential for maintaining the health and longevity of dental implants.


Sinus elevation with a lateral approach is a surgical technique that addresses the issue of insufficient bone in the upper jaw for dental implant placement. By gently elevating the sinus membrane and placing bone graft material, this procedure promotes new bone growth and provides a stable foundation for dental implants. With high success rates and improved quality of life, sinus elevation with a lateral approach offers patients the opportunity to restore their smile and regain optimal oral function.

Add comment