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Sinus Lift Bone Graft- How Big Should the Implant Be?

The left side of the image is the lump of bone I created in the sinus.

The sinus is a hollow space above your upper molar teeth. There is usually not enough bone to place implants. The sinus lift bone graft builds the vertical height only. It does not build width. And it only builds height internally… Not externally where you can see in your mouth

Having implants that are not too short on the upper back teeth is important to longevity.

If you avoid the sinus lift and place really short implants, they are likely to fail.

Ideally the implants are no less than 4.7mm wide in the sinus. Also the implants should be no less than 10 mm tall.

A very normal size implant that I place place in the sinus on a daily basis is a 5.2 x 13 mm or a 5.2 x 11.5 mm. Sometimes a very wide job and will except a 7.0 mm x 11.5 mm

Of course there are exceptions where biomechanically a shorter smaller Implant may be able to be connected to a larger, longer Implant to make up for it.

In two decades of doing sinus lift bone grafting both lateral window and internal I can tell you that size matters.

That being said bigger is not always better!!

I also find that many  less trained dentists try to avoid this procedure and push the limits of the closed/internal version of the sinus lift bone graft. This technique of trying to go beyond the limits of what internal sinus lifting can do often ends up with failed implants and torn sinus membranes!!!

Both the lateral window and internal/crestal approach are both very good. I do both of them. The problem is when somebody only knows how to do one version that particular technique is pushed too far and Implant can end up dislodging and get stuck in the sinus…I remove one last week for another dentist

Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.

Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry

Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry 

3 thoughts on “Sinus Lift Bone Graft- How Big Should the Implant Be?

  1. Hi,
    I had a failed root canal, had the tooth extracted (upper back tooth 2nd from last), and had a bone graft at the same time as the extraction.

    Fast forward 4 months to my follow up appointment today. I was told I would need a sinus lift before they can put in an implant.

    From what I’ve read, a sinus lift is basically another bone graft. I am confused as to why I would need ANOTHER bone graft?

    1. Ahh. The first bone graft only preserves the width but did not add height.

      When I do this procedure I add beight but in reality very few dentists are skilled enough to do that at the same time.

      Sorry 😐

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About Ramsey A. Amin, DDS

Dr. Ramsey Amin has extensive experience in surgical and restorative implant dentistry. As one of only less than 400 Diplomates of the American Board of Oral Implantology/ Implant Dentistry (ABOI/ID) he is considered an expert, and board-certified in dental implants. He is a former instructor at the UCLA School of Dentistry.