Although it may sound daunting, sinus lifts are a fairly common procedure and will only be carried out by an experienced dentist or surgeon. If you feel particularly anxious about the procedure, let your dentist know and they may be able to offer you dental sedation to help you relax.
How is a sinus lift performed?
Your dentist will tell you if you need a sinus lift once you’ve had a clinical assessment. This is when your dentist assesses your mouth to see what kind of treatment you need and if you’re suitable for implants. They may also suggest you have a 3D CBCT scan to assess the condition of your jaw.
Depending on the complexity of the procedure you need, you may have your sinus lift performed in your practice (under local anaesthetic) or in hospital. If a complex sinus lift procedure is required, for instance where bone from your hip is used, this will be done in hospital under general anaesthetic.
Once you’ve been given your anaesthetic, your dentist or surgeon will cut into the gum and then open a ‘window’ in the jawbone to reveal the sinus membrane. The new bone material is then placed into the space between your jaw and the sinus membrane and a collagen membrane might also be fixed on top of the bone material to keep it in position. The gum tissue is then closed with stitches.
After the procedure, your gum might be swollen for a little while and you may experience some bleeding from your nose or mouth. You might also experience some pain in your gum, which you should be able to manage with over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Your dentist may give you antibiotics to prevent infection and anti-inflammatories for the swelling. A week later, you’ll have the stitches removed and your dentist will check the progress of your healing. It’s important you look after your sinus lift following the procedure so it heals properly. Find out more about sinus lift aftercare.
Depending on the material used in your sinus lift, it usually takes between four to nine months for the bone graft to integrate with your jawbone. Once the gum has healed, you’ll be ready to have your implants placed.