Sinus Lift Postoperative Care

What should I expect after getting my Sinus Lift Surgery?


The swelling after your surgery will take three days to peak. This means that you will be the most swollen on or around the third day after surgery. Each day leading up to that day, your swelling will get bigger. 

To help with swelling during this three-day period, you will need to apply lots of ice packs to your face. You can put ice on your face for 20 minutes, then take it off for 10 minutes and repeat this process throughout the day and night. Putting ice on your face consistently for the first three days will help with swelling and provide comfort. 

On the fourth day after surgery, switch from ice to heat. Heat will help to start carrying the swelling away. You can apply heat by using a hot water bottle, using a gel pack that you can warm in the microwave, using a heating pad, using hand warmer packs, or getting a washcloth wet and warming it in the microwave. 

Taking your prescription Ibuprofen will also help significantly with swelling and should be taken consistently as directed throughout the first three days. 

Sleeping with your head elevated will also reduce swelling, such as in a recliner or with extra pillows on the bed with the goal being to keep your head at a 30-to-45-degree angle or higher. 

Most of the swelling will be gone by the 5th to 7th day after surgery. There can occasionally be some subtle swelling that hangs on a few days longer, and this is normal and not cause for concern. 



Some people will have bruising of their face or cheeks after their oral surgery. This happens sometimes even with an easy surgery in people who have fair complexions, bruise easily, are over the age of 65, or are on blood thinners. This is not a cause for concern and will resolve with time. 


Tightness of mouth opening

The surgical term for tightness of mouth opening is called “Trismus.” This tightness is normal and expected after some oral surgery. Like the swelling, the tightness will peak on the third day after surgery. 

Some people may have more tightness than others, depending on the type of oral surgery they have. It is completely normal for many people after surgery to feel as if they can only open their mouth a very small amount before they hit a “hard stop” and cannot open any more. If this happens, this tightness of mouth opening will get better, but it is often the last thing to go back to normal. It can take10 to 14 days or longer for you to feel like you can yawn or fully open your mouth again without any stretching or tightness at all. 

When you start applying heat to your face on the fourth day after surgery, you can start doing gentle stretches of your mouth opening to help you progress through this. 


Pain Control

Your doctor will give you a couple of different medications for pain control. Most people will be given a large dose of Ibuprofen with a Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen combo pill, and Oxycodone pill, Tramadol, and/or Tylenol. 

You can take your pain medications all together every 6 hours, or alternate them every three hours (Ibuprofen, 3 hrs later Hydrocodone pill, 3 hrs later Ibuprofen, etc).

Do not take your pain medications on an empty stomach or they will cause nausea. Have a small amount of soft food or milk before taking the pain medication to avoid any unnecessary stomach upset. Your pain medications are processed differently in the body, so they can and should be taken together to get the most benefit. 



It is completely normal and expected to see blood in your mouth on and off for several days after your surgery. The blood you will see is actually a very small amount of blood but when it mixes with your saliva it looks like a lot of blood, when it is only a few drops. 

Specifically, after sinus lift surgery, you may notice some on and off bleeding from your nose for the first 3-5 days as well. This is normal. You can wipe or dab with a moistened tissue. Do not blow your nose. Use your prescribed nasal sprays and take your antibiotics as prescribed and this will subside.

The first 24 hours after your mouth surgery you will see blood constantly in your saliva. After the first 24 hours, you can expect to see blood in your saliva on and off for 3 to 5 days, sometimes longer. To help with bleeding within the first 24 hours after surgery you can fold a moistened gauze and place it over the sites and bite down firmly for 20 to 30 minutes. You can also get a tea bag wet and bite firmly on it over the site for 30 minutes. 

DO NOT put dry gauze in and out of your mouth over and over, this will pull out the clots and start bleeding again. Once the bleeding slows down (which will have happened by the time you have left our clinic) you can just take out the gauze and leave them out. Just realize that you will see a small amount of blood in your mouth on and off for 3 to 5 days. Put an old towel over your pillowcase for the first few nights since you know you will have this tinge in your saliva. 


How do I keep my mouth clean after surgery? Should I brush my teeth?

After your mouth surgery it is very important to keep your mouth clean to help you heal well. We do want you to brush your teeth after your surgery. You will have to take your time brushing and be gentle around the sites where the surgery was performed. 

If you normally use an electric toothbrush at home, it may be more comfortable for the first 2-3 days after surgery to use a normal manual toothbrush. You may want to consider purchasing a child size toothbrush because the heads are much smaller and will be easier to fit in your mouth if you have a lot of swelling. 

You will use the prescription antibiotic mouthwash that we gave you morning and night. This mouthwash is actively killing germs for 12 hours with each use, so you do not need to use it more often than morning and night. 

In between the antibiotic mouthwash you will do warm salt-water rinses after meals or as frequently as you would like. You can use 1 teaspoon of salt with 8-10 ounces of water.  Keep in mind, in order to avoid dry sockets, when you do all these rinses you will simply tip your head from side to side, let the mouth rinse roll around in your mouth, then lean over the sink, open your mouth and let the mouth rinse fall out.


Will I have stiches?

You might have some stitches in your mouth after your surgery. If you do, they will be dissolvable stitches and come out on their own, you will not have to have them removed. They usually take about 7-10 days to dissolve. 

Stitches are placed only for patient comfort, and they do not make you heal any faster or slower after surgery. If a stitch for some reason comes out soon after surgery, such as the day of or one or two days after, this is OK and will not affect healing, so there is no need to be worried. 


What can I eat?

After oral surgery we suggest keeping a soft diet for about one week. This suggestion is for your comfort and to avoid hard or crunchy things getting lodged in the area where the surgery was performed. Examples of soft foods are yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, soft noodles, soups, smoothies, milkshakes, ice cream, applesauce; any foods that you can mash up with your tongue and swallow. You should avoid any foods that can crumble up into sharp pieces such as peanuts, popcorn, chips or granola. 


How will I know if something has gone wrong?

Your swelling, pain, and possible bruising will take 3 days to peak after your surgery. This means you will be the most swollen, tight, and sore on the THIRD DAY after your procedure. This is the normal healing course. Beyond the third day, your pain, swelling, and bruising will significantly start to improve. 

If you have stitches and they become loose or fall out, this is NOT a cause for concern. Refer to the section in this packet on stitches for more information. 

Any sudden, drastic increase in swelling and/or pain after the third day is a sign of infection. Often you will feel a hard “knot” in your cheek associated with this. Fevers, chills, and foul-tasting drainage can also sometimes occur. In this situation, please call the office number as soon as possible to be seen.

**We have after-hours call coverage on the office number at all times to discuss any emergencies, questions or concerns during your pre- or post-operative care.**

Sinus Precautions

When we have performed a sinus lift grafting surgery, we have knowingly accessed your sinus cavity and will ask you to follow this set of instructions in order to protect the healing of that sinus and the bone graft in the 2-week immediate healing period. 

If you do not follow these instructions, we risk the sinus graft being disturbed or becoming infected which can compromise the healing of the graft site. 


Please observe the following precautions to allow the sinus exposure to heal properly:

  1. DO NOT blow your nose for at least two weeks.
  2. DO NOT forcibly spit for two weeks.
  3. DO NOT smoke or use smokeless tobacco for at least two weeks
  4. Sneeze with your MOUTH OPEN. If the urge to sneeze arises, do not sneeze through your nose and avoid pinching nostrils.
  5. DO NOT use a straw for two weeks.
  6. Avoid swimming for one month and strenuous exercise (e.g. heavy lifting) for one week.
  7. Gentle swishing with salt water or Peridex mouth wash may be done after surgery to keep your mouth clean, but do not rinse vigorously for two weeks.
  8. Slight bleeding from the nose is not uncommon and may occur for several days after surgery.

Medications for Sinus Precautions and How to Use Them

  1. Afrin (Oxymetazoline) Nasal Spray - If your doctor gives you this nasal spray, start using it the day after surgery. Use 2 puffs in each nostril twice per day, ONLY USE FOR THREE DAYS then discontinue. 
  2. Ocean (Saline) Nasal Spray - Start this nasal spray the day after surgery. Take 2 puffs per nostril two to three times daily for as long as you’d like for any nasal congestion.
  3. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) Pills - Take this morning and night as needed for up to 5 days after surgery to help with any sinus congestion. 
  4. Fluticasone Nasal Spray – Start this nasal spray the day after surgery. Take 2 puffs per nostril morning and night for as long as you’d like to help with nasal congestion.
  5. Antibiotic Pills - Your doctor may give you a prescription for an antibiotic. If so, take it as instructed until gone. It will either be a 5- or 7-day course.

*Women Only: Please be aware that some of the medications you can be prescribed can interact with your birth control, causing it not to work (short-term). If you are currently on birth control, please speak with your surgeon.*


postoperative instruction questions?

We are here for you during your recovery process. Do not hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns about your recovery!