Private & NHS Dentists – Dental Practice Post House, Surrey

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Sinus Lifts

Sinus Lifts

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What is a sinus?

The sinus cavities are four pairs of air-filled spaces that sit close to the nose, above the upper premolar and molar teeth, and below the eyes in the upper jaw. For the purpose of routine dental implant treatment, the sinuses relevant to us are those that exist near the ends of the upper back teeth – our ‘maxillary sinuses’. These sinus hollows are lined by a thin membrane that helps in the filtration of air.

Why are they relevant? 

Following the loss of an upper back tooth, the resultant bony changes and healing can sometimes mean the sinus ‘Pneumatises’ – meaning the bottom of the sinus cavity (the ‘floor’ of the sinus) can drop down to occupy the space that used to be taken up by the root of the previous tooth/teeth. This will lead to a reduced amount of bone being available to work with for an implant.

What is a sinus lift?

With modern techniques and procedures, we are able to lift and re-estabilish the position of the sinus floor and, using of bone graft material, we can gently raise it back to a position away from the area we wish to place our implants in. 

Depending on the severity of the changes in the sinus and the amount of bone that has been lost, this procedure will be done first and a period of 6-9 months is allowed for the sinus and bone to settle before the next stage of treatment, or more commonly we will carry out the sinus lift at the same time as the implant surgery with a technique called an ‘internal sinus lift’. We are therefore able to make enough room to place implants.

Common risks associated to sinus lift procedures?

In normal healing, you should expect:

  • Pain to be controlled with simple painkillers e.g. ibuprofen and paracetamol
  • Swelling to be at its worst after two days
  • Bruising over the cheek and spreading over lower jaw
  • To feel better after stitches are removed in 10 days’ time
  • To feel back to normal after 2-3 weeks

Complications that may arrise:

  • The main risk is that the membrane could puncture or tear (less than 3.8% chance). In this event, we will generally be able to close the perforation and continue, but if we cannot and we feel there is need to wait, we can always stop the procedure and give the puncture time to heal (usually a few months) After it has healed, we can repeat the procedure, and as a healed membrane tends to be thicker and stronger, a second attempt at a sinus lift is likely to be successful.
  • Bleeding – This could include a nose bleed or your sinuses may feel “full” or “blocked” for some weeks after the surgery
  • Vertigo is very rare and temporary
  • Infection (0.8% chance)

The above risks can be reduced by

  • Using painkillers to ease discomfort.
  • Not blowing your nose for two weeks after the procedure.
  • Taking menthol inhalations with hot water three times a day for ten days.
  • Using any prescribed medications such as antibiotics and decongestants after the procedure that we may provide you.


What will happen if I choose not to have a sinus lift procedure?

Conventional dental implants may not be possible towards the back of the upper jaw as there is likely inadequate space. Whilst sinus lift surgery is completely elective, it is generally only recommended when we cannot place conventional implants in conventional techniques, or if you would benefit from this process.  It is safe, well researched and routinely carried out as part of implant dentistry.

If you feel that you would like more information or to discuss your potential sinus lift treatment, please feel free to reach out to our Implant team and we will be happy to talk to you.

Book your appointment online

See our clinician availability and book a slot that works best around your schedule. Only Private appointments are bookable.

Book your appointment online

See our clinician availability and book a slot that works best around your schedule. Only Private appointments are bookable.