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Sinus Lift

A sinus lift, aka sinus augmentation, is a surgery that makes it easier to place dental implants. Some people need dental implants but don't have enough bone support necessary for implants because of bone loss. A sinus lift can help as it increases the amount of bone in the upper jaw by adding bone to the space between your molars and premolars. To make room for the bone, the sinus membrane has to be moved upward or "lifted," which gives the surgery its name. A dental specialist like an oral maxillofacial surgeon or a periodontist usually handle sinus lifts.

What happens before sinus lift surgery?

If you're getting sinus lift surgery, your dental professional will first determine where they'll get the extra bone. The three most common types of bone used in sinus lift surgeries are:

  • Autogenous bone: bone from your own body

  • Alloplastic bone: synthetic bone

  • Xenograft: bone from a cow


If the bone comes from your own body, it will come from other areas of your mouth.

You'll then need to get X-rays taken. X-rays allow the surgeon or dental specialist to study your jaw and sinuses so they can figure out precisely what you need.


How is sinus lift surgery done?

Now, we'll go over what you can expect in surgery so that you're fully prepared and confident as you go into your sinus lift. Here's a general sequence of events that take place during sinus lift surgery:

  1. The surgeon cuts the gum tissue.

  2. The tissue is raised, exposing the bone underneath.

  3. The surgeon cuts a small circle in the bone.

  4. The surgeon lifts the bony piece into the sinus cavity space and fills the hole with a bone graft.

  5. The surgeon closes the incision.

  6. The healing process begins.


In about 4-12 months after your sinus lift surgery, your dentist will place your implants. This time in between gives the new bone time to merge correctly with your existing bone. The amount of time between your surgery and getting your implants placed depends on how much bone you needed. Your dental professional will let you know when they'll be able to place your implants.


What to expect after surgery



  • You can expect to swell to some degree, this is normal and is nothing to worry about.

  • The swelling usually reaches a peak in about 3-4 days so do not worry if it continues to swell.

  • Use of ice packs for the first 48 hours and application of moist heat after 48 hours can minimize the swelling. Please post-operative instructions section for more detail.

  • If any bone particles come through the nose, please contact us immediately. It will need to be checked but nothing will be done until complete healing has taken place.



  • Oozing is normal and when this mixes with your saliva it may seem excessive, but it is normal and can persist for a day or two.

  • When thick, red clots form, let us know immediately so we can advise you.

  • A wet cotton wool ball can be used to bite on. The pressure should be applied for 5 – 10 minutes and this will help control most bleeding.



  • The amount of pain that you feel varies from patient to patient. There is usually very little pain involved in all surgeries but if you do have a lot of pain it may indicate an infection and should be checked.

  • Taking your medication will take care of any/most discomfort.



  • Bruising over the face, eye, and neck can occur and is nothing to worry about.

Diet and chewing


  • For the bone to heal around the implant it needs to be stable and has no movement. You may not chew on the area where the surgery has been done until your 2 week follow up appointment. 

  • It is also essential to eat a soft diet during the healing time. Eating hard food will put pressure on the healing wound and may lead to either opening of the wound.


Post-operative instructions



  • Mouthwash should be used regularly to lower the chances of infection,

  • Do not dilute the mouthwash, it is to be used twice a day 30 minutes after you brush your teeth to prevent inactivation of the mouth rinse active ingredients by the toothpaste. Rinse your mouth for one minute then spit out.

  • Do not rinse, brush, or eat for at least an hour after using mouth wash.



  • If antibiotics are prescribed, please use it as per prescription instructions.

  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers are important to reduce the level of discomfort as well as to reduce the swelling. These must be taken even if you do not feel any discomfort. Take 2 tablets/capsules immediately after surgery and then two tablets 4 – 6 hourly thereafter.

  • The nasal spray is essential to reduce the congestion in your nose following sinus lifts. It is important to keep the nose and sinus clear with nasal spray to ensure that no mucous build-up.

Other instructions


  • You must eat soft foods like soups and yogurts etc. for at least one week.

  • Do not blow your nose under any circumstances. The blowing of the nose will put pressure on the bone graft and may lead to perforation of the sinus.

  • Sneezing should be done with the mouth open to help equalize the pressure in the mouth and sinus.

  • Use of ice packs for the first 48 hours can minimize the swelling.

    • The ice packs provided by our office (or bags of frozen peas) should be applied to the sides of the face continuously while awake where surgery was performed.

    • After 48 hours, ice has no beneficial effect, then moist heat can be applied to the respective area.

Tooth brushing


  • Avoid the surgical area with a toothbrush for 10 days.

  • Start brushing gently as soon as you can.

  • Brush all other areas that have not been treated and try to dislodge any food that may be sitting in the area of the surgical site.

* This list serves merely as a guideline should you encounter any of these complications. Please call us if anything worries you. We will easily
be able to put your mind at rest.

Get in Touch

078 972 2702

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