What Are The Complications Of A Sinus Lift?

What Are The Complications Of A Sinus Lift?

Jan 13, 2023

Losing teeth is a devastating experience. After losing teeth, dental experts recommend replacing them as soon as possible to improve your oral health, appearance, and bite. Replacing missing teeth also prevents jawbone deterioration and teeth shifting of the adjacent teeth.

When replacing lost teeth in the upper jaw, sometimes a patient might not have enough jawbone to support a dental implant sufficiently. In that case, the dentist can recommend a sinus lift. Keep reading to learn more about sinus lifts, the procedure, recovery, and possible complications.

What is a Sinus Lift?

A sinus lift is an oral surgery that involves adding more bone to your upper jaw around where molars and premolars are located. A sinus lift is also called a sinus augmentation.

Without enough jawbone density in the upper jaw, the implant might not anchor properly and can fail. Even when the implant is successful, it might not be able to support demanding tasks like grinding and chewing food, which can lead to further complications.

A sinus lift procedure often begins with a consultation. The dentist will examine your oral condition and determine whether you’re a good candidate for dental implants or a sinus lift. The exam will include x-rays and scans to assess the jawbone health and skull details. Visit our dental clinic for more information about sinus lift procedures.

Sinus Lift Procedure

The exact procedure of a sinus lift may vary based on factors like how much grafting is needed, the type of bone graft, and the dental implant placement procedure. Generally, the procedure can include the following steps:

  • The dentist will begin by numbing you to make you comfortable and pain-free during the procedure.
  • Next, the dentist or surgeon will identify and make an incision through the gum tissues to expose the bone.
  • A small cut is made to the bone while avoiding the sinus membranes.
  • The cut portion of the bone is lifted into the sinus cavity to raise the membranes.
  • Next, the dentist will place the new bone materials in the lifted area. The graft material is often taken from another part of your body, like the hip or synthetic bone. Before the procedure, you will discuss the best option with your dentist or surgeon.
  • Lastly, the surgeon will suture the gums to promote faster healing.


After a sinus lift, it’s common to experience minor side effects like swelling, discomfort, and bleeding. Fortunately, these symptoms only extend for a few days. Your dentist or surgeon will likely prescribe medication to manage these side effects. Similarly, you can use a cold compress on the cheek against the operated area to manage swelling and pain. Good dental care and hygiene are also essential to prevent infections.

The dentist will also warn you about certain things that can worsen your discomfort and cause further infections. These can include:

  • Avoid blowing your nose or sneezing forcefully.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth for specific periods to prevent disturbing the surgical site.
  • Avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy foods.
  • Avoid tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid spitting, rinsing, or sucking in the next 24 hours.
  • Avoid hot items.

Your dentist will likely schedule a follow-up appointment within a week to monitor your progress. However, be sure to contact our North Brunswick dentist if you experience severe symptoms:

  • Pain or swelling that doesn’t settle after two days
  • Fever
  • Bleeding that persists or worsens after 2 – 3 days
  • A sensation that the bone graft has moved out of position. It could happen due to forceful sneezing or blowing of the nose.

Complications of a Sinus Lift

Thankfully, sinus lift procedures are very successful. However, like with any surgery, complications are possible, although rare. Common complications of sinus lift include:

  • The puncturing of the sinus membrane. The surgeon can accidentally puncture the sinus membrane when cutting through the bone. Fortunately, they should be able to stitch or patch it up to repair it. Similarly, the surgeon can stop the surgery by allowing the membranes to heal before performing the sinus lift.
  • Sinus infection. Although a sinus lift infection is rare, it’s possible. In most cases, the infection is caused by the materials used during the surgery.
  • Wound drainage or purulent exudate. A patient can experience drainage or pus near the treated area. Fortunately, you can easily correct the issue with antibiotics or irrigation techniques.
  • Discoloration under the eyes. The surgery can damage blood vessels, resulting in blood collection under the eyes that cause them to appear discolored.
  • Implant failure. While rare, the implant may fail to connect with the repaired bone.

Schedule an Appointment Today

For more information about a sinus lift or general dentistry, contact KK Dental – North Brunswick.

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