Sinus Lift Surgery for Dental Implants

Sinus Augmentation for Dental ImplantsA sinus lift increases the amount of bone in the upper jaw by filling in the space between your molars and premolars with bone. If you want to get dental implants but don’t have enough jawbone density to support the implant, your dentist may recommend sinus lift surgery as an alternative treatment approach. After two to three days following a sinus lift, if you’re bleeding, swelling, or experiencing worsening pain, you need to call your doctor immediately.

What is a Sinus Lift?

A sinus lift, often referred to as sinus augmentation or sinus graft, is a bone grafting oral surgery performed on the upper jaw. By increasing the density of the jawbone between the maxillary sinuses and the jaw, a sinus lift makes it simpler to place dental implants. The maxillary sinuses are hollow spaces above and behind the upper teeth, behind the cheekbones. Roots that enter the sinuses are typically found on the upper back molars. There is not much of the supporting jawbone left once teeth are lost or removed. Dental professionals like periodontists or oral and maxillofacial surgeons frequently perform sinus lifts.

Is a Sinus Lift Required to Place Dental Implants?

Patients with thin upper jawbones usually have a sinus lift prior to receiving dental implants. This is because it’s possible for a dental implant to fail because there isn’t enough bone density to support it. Below are the common reasons why a sinus lift is required before getting dental implants.

  • Narrow jawbone
  • Close proximity of the sinuses to the jaw
  • Insufficient upper jawbone height
  • Large sinus cavities
  • Close proximity of neighboring teeth roots

How is a Sinus Lift Surgery Done?

Various techniques can be used to do sinus lift surgery. The quantity of jawbone you currently have, the type of bone transplant the dentist is using, and the future plan for dental implant placement may all influence the best course of action for you. A general description of what happens during a sinus lift procedure is given below.

  1. The surgeon will use a local anesthetic to numb the area to make you comfortable throughout the surgery.
  2. The surgeon will locate the back of your gum tissue and make incisions to expose the bone.
  3. The surgeon will only cut a small portion of the bone avoiding the sinus membranes.
  4. The surgeon will raise the sliced part of the bone up into the sinus cavity space lifting the sinus membrane.
  5. The surgeon will apply bone graft materials to fill the hole.
  6. The surgeon will close the incisions by using sutures.

When Can You Get Dental Implants After a Sinus Lift Surgery?

The American Academy of Periodontology states that a sinus lift patient’s full recovery can take anywhere between 4 and 12 months. This time frame is crucial for the sinuses to heal and for the new bone to properly integrate with your existing bone, resulting in better support for dental implants. Once the sinuses have fully recovered, a dental implant can be placed, and the treatment can proceed.

Although a sinus lift for implanting a tooth usually necessitates a lengthy recovery period, it is necessary for successful implant placement. This is especially true for patients with large sinus cavities, insufficient upper jawbone height, or thin jawbones.

What are the Sinus Lift Complications?

Even though sinus lifts are typically considered to be safe, complications can nonetheless arise. Sinus lift complications could happen before, during, or occasionally even as you’re still healing. Below are the most common sinus lift complications.

Puncturing or Tearing a Sinus Membrane

The most common sinus lift complication is tearing or puncturing a sinus membrane. Your surgeon can stitch or patch the punctured sinus membrane in case this occurs. If stitching is not possible, your surgeon will stop the procedure and wait for your sinus membrane to heal before redoing your surgery.


All surgeries carry the risk of infection. A sinus infection following a sinus lift is unlikely but still possible. Typically, poor postoperative care or hygienic issues during the procedure lead to an infection.

Acute Maxillary Sinusitis

Acute maxillary sinusitis is characterized by facial pain that is limited to the cheek but can also occur in the frontal region or the teeth. The pain is made worse by bending over or straining. There is a chance for both unilateral and bilateral pain, and the sinuses could get sore. For the treatment of maxillary sinusitis, antibiotics should be used for at least two weeks along with a glucocorticoid, decongestant, and analgesic. Cryotherapy can also be used if necessary.

Graft Failure

Although rare, a sinus graft can fail. Rarely will your grafted bone be unable to form a link with the bone material. Your dentist will give you time to recover before doing another sinus lift surgery.

When to Consult a Doctor After a Sinus Lift?

You must notify your dentist right away if you continue to feel increased pain or persistent bleeding two to three days after your sinus lift surgery. Another indication of a sinus graft failure is if you get a sensation that it has moved out of place. This can occur due to vigorous sneezing, so you should see a doctor. A fever, pus coming from the surgical site, or inflammation, are all signs of infection; thus, you must visit your dentist as soon as possible.

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