September 8th, 2016
Replacing a lost tooth isn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes, you don’t have enough bone in your upper jaw to support an implant. That’s where a sinus lift comes in.
Sinus lifts are thought to be the best available solution for people who don’t have enough bone to support a dental implant. Even better, the surgery has a low risk of complications, according to a study published in the Implantologie Journal. That being said, it’s still important to discuss potential sinus lift complications so that you are fully informed before you choose to get surgery.
What is a sinus lift?
A sinus lift is a type of surgery that adds more bone to your upper jaw, where your molars or premolars should be. It is also known as sinus augmentation. Your sinus membrane needs to be lifted in order to fit additional bone between your jaw and your maxillary sinuses, which is why it’s called a “sinus lift”. Your maxillary sinuses are the largest of your sinuses and are located under your eyes and above your teeth.
Sinus lift complications
Thankfully, serious complications in sinus lift procedures are very rare. Like any surgery though, there is some risk of complications, which include the following:
- Puncturing of the sinus membrane during surgery. This is by far the most common complication during a sinus lift. Your surgeon should be able to patch or stitch up the punctured membrane, which will repair it. If they can’t do this, they may stop the surgery and allow your membrane to heal before they redo the surgery.
- Sinus infection. Like with any surgery, there is a risk of infection. However, getting a sinus infection due to a sinus lift is very rare. It’s usually caused by an infection of the materials used during surgery.
- Wound drainage, also known as purulent exudate, may occur. You may know this type of drainage as pus. This isn’t a huge threat and can typically be taken care of with irrigation techniques and antibiotics.
- You may experience discoloration under your eyes due to a collection of blood building up after surgery. This is usually caused by damage to blood vessels during surgery or improper care of the patient’s mouth after surgery. Hematoma generally occurs in older women and should clear up after two weeks. It presents no danger - it’s only an aesthetic issue.
- Implant failure. On very rare occasions, your implant may not be able to connect with the bone material. This failure can also occur with your natural bone as well (without a sinus lift).
If you experience any of the following signs of sinus lift complications, you should contact your surgeon immediately:
- Swelling or pain increases or does not decrease after two days.
- A fever develops.
- Bone-like material moves after you sneeze or blow your nose.
- Bleeding continues after one or two days.
- Bleeding becomes bright red and flows at a constant pace.
How to reduce your risk of complications
Sinus lifts have a low risk of complications in general. As long as you’re healthy, choose a good surgeon, and take proper care of yourself, you typically shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
While some uncontrollable factors may cause sinus lift complications, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. You should always choose a skilled and board-certified dental surgeon to perform your surgery. At Water Tower Dental Care, Dr. Daniel Aneszko and Dr. Rana Stino will refer you to a skilled, experienced and certified surgeon if you need a sinus lift. Experienced doctors should reduce your risk of infection and puncturing.
You also need to carefully follow your after-surgery care instructions. If you don’t properly care for your wound, you could run into infection, hematoma, or other problems.
Finally, keeping your mouth clean and avoiding smoking can greatly reduce your risk of developing issues post-surgery. Smoking in particular has been found to significantly increase the risk of dental implant failure.
Complications after a sinus lift are typically very low-risk. It would be rare for you to run into any serious problems after or during this surgery. If you would like to learn more about sinus lift surgery in Chicago, feel free to reach out to Chicago’s number one dentistry! We would be honored to put you on a path to a healthy, full smile.