Post operative instructions and information after a Sinus Lift procedure

February 8th, 2012 | Posted by drborispulec in Dental Practice | For Doctors | For Patients | Implant Dentistry

The sinus lift procedure is a very delicate procedure that involves the Maxillary Sinuses.  You can refer to the Sinus Lift brochure for procedure details.

To avoid complications it is important for you to follow the instructions below as accurately as possible:

1)      Bleeding Control. Our office will place the gauze for you in the area of the surgery. Make sure you bite down on it with some pressure. Keep the gauze in your mouth for as long as possible at a minimum 20 minutes and preferably for 3-4 hours. The gauze acts like a pressure bandage and stops or minimizes any bleeding.  We cannot put a bandage on the surgical site that stays there so you want to keep the gauze there as long as possible. Moisten the gauze and fold it enough times so that when you bite down there is pressure on the area.

You will receive some extra gauze to take home. Do not keep changing the gauze. Every time you change the gauze you will likely disturb the area and can cause bleeding to start again. After the gauze has been there for 2- 3 hours just throw it away. Place new gauze only if you notice new significant bleeding.

Make sure you place the gauze between the sinus area and the lower teeth  as demonstrated in the  pictures below.


Make sure that the gauze presses against the surgical area where there are teeth opposing and where there are no teeth opposing.

Continue with Medication :

You will have your medications already with you from the prescription given to you prior to surgery.  Make sure you follow the instructions and finish all antibiotics. You will also have pain control medications. These medications should only be taken if you need pain control. Take one pain medication tablet as about 1 hour after the surgery. It will start working about the same time that the local anaesthetic will finish working.


You may experience an allergic reaction to the medication you are taking.

Allergic reactions: These include itchy skin rash and in serious situations shortness of breath. If you experience the first type of reactions stop using the medication immediately and call our office. If you start to experience shortness of breath go to the hospital immediately.

Side effects: Side effects are not allergic reactions. These may include among other symptoms: upset stomach, nausea, vomiting etc. Again stop using the medication or try having food with the medication.

Sutures : Sutures will most likely be non resorbing sutures. Regardless of whether they are self resorbing or not you will need to return for a post operative appointment to remove them or what may be left of them at your next appointment.

What to expect :

1)      Bleeding in the mouth and or nose. Various amounts of bleeding may occur in the mouth and from the nose. Try to follow the instructions to minimize this. If there is excessive bleeding call your dental office and ask to speak directly with your Dentist.

2)      Small white particles in your mouth or nose. Some of the bone material can escape through the nose or between stitches. This is normal and not a cause for worry.

3)      Swelling in the entire side of the face: This procedure is involving a larger area of soft tissue and the body response to the surgical procedure is swelling. The swelling may be extensive and sometimes scary but be assured this will subside. Usually the swelling is the worst for the first 3 days and then gets better with time. It should be almost back to normal in about two weeks.

4)      Bruising of the Cheeks neck and even near the shoulders; The sinus lift procedure is a procedure where there could be extensive bleeding in the spaces between the skin and muscles. The bruising will go away like any other bruise. It will become blue or purple. Possibly with red streaks. It will then turn yellow and then disappear. In rare situations the bruise persists for a long time such as several weeks but it will go away eventually.

Things not to do:

1)      Do not smoke :

It is very important that you do not smoke at least two weeks after the Sinus lift procedure. Preferably you should avoid smoking 6 weeks after the procedure. Smoke will slow down the healing process and may cause infections as well to any surgical site. In the Sinus Lift procedure it has even a more serious effect since we are dealing with the nasal sinuses which are filled with smoke during smoking.

2)      Do not drink alcohol for at least 48 hours :

Drinking alcohol thins your blood and may cause bleeding. If you are taking antibiotics or other prescription medicine alcohol may also be a contraindication as it may react with the medicine in detrimental ways.

3)      Do not blow your nose.

You may get a feeling that there is something in your nose and may want to blow it out like during a cold with a “stuffy nose”. It is important that you DO NOT. The force may cause the delicate membrane that is in the sinus to break before it has a chance to heal. This membrane may at times even be broken and repaired by the dentist making it even more fragile.

4)      Try to avid sneezing :

Although it may be impossible to stop a sneeze there are various things you can do to minimize sneezing activity. Sneezing will create the same forces as would happen with blowing your nose and should be avoided.

a)      Avoid dusty environments.

b)      Avoid foods and items you are allergic to

c)      Take antihistamine medicine if it is the time of year when you have seasonal allergies or you know you will expose to things you are allergic to and things that will make you sneeze.

d)      If you do catch yourself sneezing do not try to stop it midway it may be worse that just sneezing as normal. Keep your mouth open to let the air out there as much as possible

5 )       Do not bend over to pick up items :

a)      When you bend over gravity may move the bone material that was placed in your sinus as well as blood to an area where there is a communication with the nose. This may cause your nose to bleed and or you may find white particulate matter coming out of your nose. Bleeding from the nose may happen anyway and is not a cause for concern unless it persists for an extended period of time. White particulate matter in the nose is also not something to worry about.

b)      When picking something up from the floor bend your knees and try to keep your body upright.


1 )   Do not drink through a straw:

Drinking through a straw creates pressure in your mouth and may disturb the sinus area surgical site.


2 )   Do not spit even after rinsing your mouth.

Spitting out mouth rinses vigorously will cause pressure and again may disturb the sinus area surgical site. Gently let the mouth rinse out of your mouth without a forceful evacuation will minimize the pressure.


3 )   Do not go on an Airplane for at least two weeks after the surgical procedure :

Again high altitudes will create pressure that will be experienced in the mouth and sinuses and can cause damage to the surgical site. It is good to even avoid very tall  and high rise buildings like the CN Tower.


4)   Do not go on part attraction rides :

These can cause pressure in the sinuses through inertial forces and again may cause damage to the surgical site.


5 )   Avoid strenuous exercise.  Strenuous exercise will case the blood pressure to increase and may cause bleeding at the surgical site.


6 )   If you are taking certain medications such as Tylenol with Codeine (Tylenol 1,2,3 or 4 ) you should not operate a vehicle(car) or other heavy machinery.  Different patients react differently to different medications and you may become drowsy and get into an accident.


7 )   Do not eat hard foods.Eating foods that are hard like crusty bread and pop corn may damage the tissues. The surgical site is delicate so eat soft food only such as soup mashed potatoes etc.

8 )   Do not frequently change the gauze. Changing the gaze frequently actually will cause more bleeding. Every time you change the gauze the area gets disturbed and the clot may get broken and cause more bleeding.


9 )   Do not remove the stitches: Even if the stitches may become annoying it is important not to try to remove them. You could cause damage to the surgical site.


10 )  Do not lift your cheek or your lip to see the surgical site you may stretch the tissue and cause tearing.


11)  Do not use nasal sprays: If you find yourself congested you may take decongestants but only if you have a cold. You may feel congested as part of the post surgical symptoms.


12 )  Do not play Musical instruments that require blowing with your mouth for at least 6 weeks after the surgery. This will cause pressure and may cause damage to your surgical site.


13 )  Do not brush the teeth in the area of the sinus lift. You can rinse but brushing may damage the area. Use an extra soft toothbrush on the rest of the teeth and nearby. A hard toot brush can accidently cause damage.


14 )  Do not use any removable dentures or night guards unless specifically instructed by your dentist.

Things to do

1)    Make sure you keep eating:  After surgery most people are not in the mood to eat.Your body  will be healing the area of the surgery and will need nourishment. It is important to keep up with your meals. If it is difficult to eat and you cannot open your mouth very easily  then you can use meal substitutes. These are various drinks that will replace a full meal.(Boost)

2)    Stay upright : Try to keep as upright as possible at all times. When sleeping add an extra pillow under your head to make you more upright during the night.

3)    Rinse your mouth often : You can use the Peridex  rinse 3 to 4 times per day starting with the day after the surgery. If you run out or do not want to use the Peridex  you can use salt water rinses instead. Take an 8 once glass of water and put one tea spoon of salt in it and stir till it dissolves than rinse gently and spit out the liquid without force. Peridex may stain your teeth  and or your tongue. Do not worry this can be cleaned off easily. Do not eat or rinse your mouth after the rinse for at least 1 hour. Always rinse before bedtime and when you wake up.

4)    Rest as much as possible: You need to rest after the surgery. Your body has to heal and it cannot heal as well if you put it under more stress with work or strenuous activity.

5)    Take Calcium supplements as per the recommended dose on the dose indicated on the brand that you purchase. This will help with your bone rebuilding.

6)    If your swelling comes back call the office. It is normal for the area to swell and sometimes excessively. But when it settles down and then swells up again this may mean you have an infection and you should call the office immediately upon noticing this re swelling occurrence.



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