Sinus Lift: Answering Common Questions About Sinus Lifts To Help You Feel Prepared for the Procedure

December 15, 2023 | Mint Dental Works


You’re sitting in your dentist’s pleather chair, staring up into the light above your face — your mind is racing.  

Your dentist just told you that you are going to need a sinus lift before you can get your dental implant. From “How bad will that hurt?” to “What even is a sinus lift? Am I about to get a nose job?” You’ve probably got a lot of questions when it comes to sinus lift procedures. 

While figuring out how to politely answer your dentist’s questions while their hands are in your mouth is difficult, understanding sinus lifts isn’t hard at all. 

This article will help address your sinus lift questions including why you need one, what to expect, and more. 


Table of Contents


sinus lift surgery


What Is a Sinus Lift?

In the simplest of terms, a sinus lift is a procedure that makes placing dental implants easier. 

Sometimes called a sinus augmentation, it increases the amount of bone in the upper jaw, allowing implants the space they need to function well. Sinus lifts greatly improve the chances of successful dental implants. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, a sinus lift provides a more predictable outcome for patients receiving dental implants.

During a sinus lift, bone is added in the sinus above the implant site. In order to make space for this new bone, the sinus membrane needs to be moved out of the way — or be “lifted”, which is where the procedure gets its name. 

Mint Dental Works has performed successful dental lifts on many patients. Contact us today for more information. 


sinus lift


Is a Sinus Lift Painful? 

During the actual procedure, you shouldn’t feel any pain at all. You can expect to undergo anesthesia to ensure that you don’t feel a thing. You might experience tenderness post-procedure. 

It is important to remember that a sinus lift is still a surgical procedure so you may experience some post-anesthesia discomfort for a few days following the procedure. During a sinus lift, the bone and gum undergo modification, which can lead to some discomfort. 

When it comes to the actual implant portion of the operation, while some discomfort is common, the pain is similar to other dental procedures. In fact, one study showed that implants hurt less than a simple tooth extraction. 


Why Might You Need a Sinus Lift Procedure?

Sometimes there simply isn’t enough room in the upper jaw to place implants. This could be because of unique bone height or the sinuses being too close to the ends of the tooth roots. 

To have a successful implant placement, you need space for the implant and bone to secure it. But not all mouths have the ideal conditions. It could be that there isn’t enough space or there could be a lack of usable bone. 

Bone loss can be caused by a variety of factors:

Under these conditions, an implant cannot be placed unless the issue is fixed. Enter a sinus lift.


External Approach

The membrane is raised by adding grafting material above the site where the implant is to be placed. Bone is added and needs time to heal so it can effectively support the implant. Usually, the implant isn’t placed until after the bone heals. 


Internal Approach With Some Existing Bone

In this approach, your sinuses are lifted by gently tapping through where the implant is going. Grafting material is inserted through the implant site and the implant is placed during the procedure.


sinus lift procedure


Sinus Lift Surgery: FAQs 

If you still have some questions about sinus lifting procedures, you just might find the answer right here. Let’s dive into the details. 


How Is Sinus Lift Surgery Performed? 

As discussed earlier, there are a few different techniques that can be used for sinus lift surgery. While each varies a bit from the others, the main procedure tends to stay consistent. 

First, an incision is made into the gum, allowing access to the bone beneath. A small circle is then cut into the bone and a special tool is used to very gently move that bit of bone up into the sinus cavity. 

The new space in the bone is then filled with bone graft material and the incision is closed. 

The next step is placing the dental implant. In most cases, the sinus lift and implant placement can take place at the same time. There are instances where the sinus lift has to heal first, but this isn’t as common. 

Once the implant is in place, you’re finished! Your provider should give you care instructions for the best chance of optimal healing. 


How Do You Prepare for Sinus Lift Surgery?

With a sinus lift, you don’t usually have to worry about an extensive recovery period. Often it is recommended to do things as normal — eat, drink, and take your typical medications. 

Depending on your provider’s recommendation, you might want to take ibuprofen before the procedure. This could help reduce inflammation and improve recovery time. 

As with any procedure, you want to make sure you arrive on time or even a little bit early. 

If you find yourself with some pre-procedure nerves, try something calming and centering like meditating or going for a walk. Remember, your provider is a professional and this is a common operation. 


What Should You Expect After Sinus Lift Surgery?

As with any oral surgery, you will likely experience some side effects as you heal such as:

  • Discomfort for 3-4 days
  • Swelling
  • Minor bleeding from the surgical site

You should avoid blowing your nose or sneezing with your mouth closed as these things can cause the bone graft material to move or stitches to loosen. 

You will likely be given some care products and prescriptions such as:

  • Saline spray for your nose
  • Prescription medications for congestion and inflammation
  • Pain medication
  • Antibiotics
  • Antimicrobial mouthwash to help reduce the risk of infection

Give your body time and space to heal itself. You will most likely have a follow-up appointment 7-10 days after your operation to examine the site and ensure that it is healing properly. 


What Are the Possible Risks of Sinus Lift Surgery? 

At Mint Dental Works, we pride ourselves on ensuring that our patients have all the information they need to feel safe and comfortable with their procedure. Our state-of-the-art facilities are designed to put you at ease. 

But still, every surgery has its risks. With a sinus lift, a potential complication is a puncture or tear to the sinus membrane. This can easily be remedied with the placement of a collagen membrane. 

When it comes to surgery, there is always a risk of infection. This is not common with this procedure and following your provider’s care instructions can reduce this risk.

In rare cases, the grafted bone doesn’t integrate and the procedure will need to be redone.

Lastly, there is a chance of acute maxillary sinusitis or temporary inflammation in the membrane of the nose and sinuses. 

Experiencing complications with any operation can be frustrating but at Mint Dental Works, we are committed to providing our patients with high-level care. We take our time during procedures to ensure everything is done correctly and we are always there for our patients to help them navigate any issues that may arise. 


How Much Does a Sinus Lift Cost?

The cost for a sinus lift will differ from provider to provider. Your dental coverage may cover part — or even all — of the operation. 

Here at Mint Dental Works, we are proud to offer the best care possible. Contact us for more information on our fees. 


Sinus Lift: Long-Term Side Effects Following a Sinus Lift Procedure

While a sinus lift procedure is considered a safe and effective operation, there is always a chance of developing long-term side effects. Every operation, no matter what it is or who performs it, has its risks. 

Some sinus lift long-term risks to be aware of are:

  • Sinus infections
  • Bone loss
  • Nerve damage
  • Chronic sinusitis 

While there is no such thing as a risk-free surgery, you can greatly reduce your already low chances of experiencing long-term side effects by:

  • Selecting a skilled professional to do the operation
  • Carefully following post-operative care instructions 
  • Attending your follow-up appointments
  • Addressing complications promptly


what is a sinus lift


Mint Dental Works: An Environmentally Friendly Approach to Dentistry and Procedures

Mint Dental Works has been in business for 20 years and counting. We are proud to be industry leaders in both innovation and sustainability. 

Our green office is the first LEED-certified dental office in the nation. We have measures in place to greatly reduce our waste production and ensure that we are doing everything we can to respect the environment. 

At Mint Dental Works, our patients come first and we are proud to offer unexpected amenities — like warm neck wraps and movies during procedures. 

Whether you need a sinus lift or a basic cleaning, Mint Dental Works offers the services you need. We can’t wait to serve you — call us today to set up your appointment.


sinus lift


The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.