Defining Sinus Lift

oral surgeon photo
Photo by Laura Brunow Miner

A sinus lift, also known as sinus augmentation, is a surgical procedure designed to add bone to the upper jaw around the site of premolars and molars.
The surgeon will add the bone between the patient’s jaw and the sinuses, present on both sides of the nose. To create space for the bone, the surgeon will ‘lift’ the sinus membrane upward.

Need for a Sinus Lift

A sinus lift may be performed when the height of the bone in the upper jaw is inadequate or the maxillary sinuses are located very close to the upper jaw, hindering the placement of dental implants. The loss of bone may occur if the patient has lost several teeth in the upper jaw.

Bone loss may also occur due to periodontal disease if the patient failed to seek timely treatment. In the last two decades, sinus lift has become a fairly common procedure because now more people seek dental implant treatment to replace missing teeth.


Following the preparation process, the sinus lift procedure will begin by cutting the gum tissue in the area where the posterior teeth were once present.
They will lift the tissue to expose the jawbone. Thereafter, a tiny, oval-shaped window will be created in the bone. Through this window, the membrane that separates the sinus from the jaw will be delicately pushed up and away from the jaw.

The surgeon will then pack bone graft into the area where the sinus membrane was. Several millimeters of bone is usually added above the jaw.

Following the bone grafting, the incisions in the tissue will be closed with sutures. A period of four to nine months may be required for complete healing, during which the grafted material fuses with the bone.

Once the healing is completed, the dentist will perform the dental implant procedure to replace missing teeth.

Post-Operative Recovery

Following the sinus lift procedure, the patient may experience some swelling in the treated site. They may also bleed from the nose or mouth. For a few days, they should avoid blowing their nose forcefully.  A saline spray may be provided to help the patient keep the nasal inner lining wet. In some cases, medications to prevent inflammation and congestion may be prescribed.

While most patients will only experience minor discomfort following a sinus lift surgery, the surgeon may provide pain medications for a few days. The dentist will review the condition in about one week after the procedure, and a few more appointments may be scheduled to monitor the progress of healing.

In some cases, it may be recommended to use PRP (platelet-rich plasma) growth factors to expedite healing and hardening of the new bone. The FDA has approved the use of PRP in sinus lift procedures.

Choose an Accomplished Oral Surgeon

A key risk in sinus lift procedures is that the delicate sinus membrane might get torn or punctured. This could delay the procedure and require another attempt to perform sinus lift. Therefore, patients should choose a highly trained and experienced dentist such as Dr. Dan Matthews who can give a referral to a specialist, either an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or a periodontist for sinus lift procedure. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthews today.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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