The traditional sinus augmentation technique for dental implants, also known as the lateral window technique, is just one of the approaches to bone augmentation or grafting for implants. Another technique is called hydraulic sinus condensing.
Dr. Leon Chen, in 1996, developed a new and interesting approach to sinus augmentation for the placement of implants. “Over an 8-year study of 1,557 implants in 1,100 patients using the Hydraulic Sinus Condensing technique, only 8 implants failed, resulting in a 99.99% success rate.” His method of augmenting or bone grafting into and under the membrane which lines the sinus, is to utilize the same osteotomy necessary for the implant. An osteotomy is the channel made into the bone in which to insert the dental implant. This is done by drilling the osteotomy to within one millimeter of the sinus and then hydraulic pressure utilizing water is applied. This lifts the membrane up into the sinus. The hydraulic pressure is then ceased and bone grafting material is then pushed into the tiny hole onto the floor of the sinus and under the membrane. The osteotomy is then sized exactly to the implant which is then seated permanently. No opening to the sinus remains and the implant is in place immediately.
One of the problems with the traditional lateral window approach is the possibility of tearing or puncturing the membrane. A repair can often be made but sometimes there is a need for the membrane to totally repair and heal itself. This may delay the treatment a few months.
Another hydraulic sinus condensing method which is only slightly different, utilizes a channel within the actual implant through which water under pressure slightly raises the sinovial membrane. This creates the space for the grafting material which is inserted through this same channel. This procedure is entitled the iRaise technique which accomplishes the same thing as the previous method.
It appears that many new procedures to augment the sinus cavity for receipt of dental implants are being developed since the original concept was introduced by Dr. Hilt Tatum, Jr. in the mid-seventies. Each method is effective and definitely aids the patient in returning to a normal-feeling, healthy, and properly functioning mouth.
Life Member of American Dental Association, Emeritus Fellow of Academy of General Dentistry, American Implant Society.
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