The maxillary sinus is an air-filled space behind the cheeks and in the back of the upper jaw. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
There is a solution and it's called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The oral surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient's jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone. However, there are certain cases in which implants can be placed at the same time as the sinus bone graft.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.