What Is Sinus Lift Surgery?

Sinus Lift Surgery and what to expect after.

A sinus lift is surgery that lifts your upper sinus membrane to add bone to your upper jaw in the area of your upper jaw. It is sometimes called a sinus augmentation.

The bone is added between your jaw and the maxillary sinuses, which are on either side of your nose. To make room for the bone, the sinus membrane has to be moved upward, or “lifted.”

A sinus lift usually is done by a specialist, this could be either an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or a periodontist. Most patients have only a little discomfort after a sinus-lift procedure.

 What It’s Used For

A sinus lift is done when there is not enough bone height or density in the upper jaw, or the sinuses are too close to the jaw, for dental implants to be placed successfully. There are several reasons for this:

Bone Loss in the upper jaw — usually due to tooth loss, age, and the anatomy of the skull, the back of the upper jaw has less bone than the lower jaw.Bone may have been lost because of periodontal (gum) disease.Tooth loss may have led to a loss of bone as well. Once teeth are gone, bone begins to be resorbed (absorbed back into the body). If teeth have been missing for a long time, there often is not enough bone left to place implants.The maxillary sinus may be too close to the upper jaw for implants to be placed. The shape and the size of this sinus varies from person to person. The sinus also can get larger as you age.

Sinus lifts have become common during the last 15 years as more people get dental implants to replace missing teeth.

How It’s Done

Your surgeon will cut the gum tissue where your back teeth used to be. The tissue is raised, exposing the bone. A small, oval window is opened in the bone. The membrane lining the sinus on the other side of the window separates your sinus from your jaw. This membrane is gently pushed up and away from your jaw.

Granules of bone-graft material are then packed into the space where the sinus was. The amount of bone used will vary, but usually several millimeters of bone is added above the jaw.

Once the bone is in place, the tissue is closed with stitches.


After the procedure, you may experience some swelling of the area. You may bleed from your mouth or nose. Do not blow your nose or sneeze forcefully, as either one could cause the bone-graft material to move, and loosen the stitches. Your dentist may give you saline sprays to keep the inner lining of your nose wet and prescribe medicine to prevent congestion and inflammation. You also will be given pain medicine, an antibiotic and an antimicrobial mouthwash to help prevent infection.

A follow up check-up is completed 7 to 10 days after surgery as this time the dentist will evaluate the surgical site, remove stitches if they will not dissolve on their own, and make sure the area is healing properly.

After a sinus lift the area will need to approximately 6 months for the material to harden and integrate with your jaw, implants can then be placed usually within 6 to 8 months.


Infection is a risk of any surgical procedure. However, this rarely occurs after sinus lifts.

On rare occasions, the existing bone does not integrate with the bony graft material, and the grafted area does not develop a blood supply. If this happens, any implants placed in this area will fail because there is no live bone for them to attach to. If this happens, you can have the sinus lift procedure repeated.

 Tips for after Care of a Sinus Lift:

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. BLOW YOUR NOSE FOR THE NEXT FOUR (4) WEEKS. This may be longer if indicated. You may sniff all you like but NO BLOWING.

Do not blow your nose or sneeze holding your nose.  Sneeze with your mouth open.

Do not drink with straws

Do not spit.

Avoid any activity that causes pressure in your nasal cavity.

Avoid “bearing down”—as when lifting heavy objects, blowing up balloons, playing musical instruments that require a blowing action or any other activity that increases nasal or oral pressure.

Smoking must be stopped.

Scuba diving and flying in pressurized aircraft may also increase sinus pressure and should be avoided for at least 10 days.

When to Call a Professional:

After a sinus lift, contact your surgeon if:

Any swelling or pain gets worse over time. (It should decrease after the first two days or so.)The bleeding does not stop after one to two days.Bleeding is bright red and continuous. (Normal bleeding after this procedure oozes slowly and is dark red with possible clots.)You think the bony material may have been dislodged after sneezing or blowing your nose.Pain does not decrease over time.You develop a fever.

Keven Peoples