Instructions Following Sinus Grafting

Transplanting bone or bone substitutes into the maxillary sinus is a routine surgical procedure. However, the process of healing and recovery after oral surgery varies per individual. Post-operative care is very important. Complications, pain, infection, and swelling can be minimized if these instructions are followed after surgery. 


If you have been treated by our office and have encountered an emergent situation after hours, please call our main office number (587) 425-1600 to contact Drs. Goth or Olsen. We prefer if you contact us first rather than your own dentist or family doctor; however, if you have difficulty breathing or are experiencing severe bleeding requiring immediate attention, proceed to the emergency room or dial 911. Calls for prescription refills and routine questions should be made during our regular office hours (Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm).


You will notice small stitches in place where the bone was both taken from and placed.

The gauze pad placed over the surgical site(s) should be kept in place for a half hour. Soft biting pressure should be maintained with minimal talking or manipulation. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded. If bleeding persists repeat the process. Vigorous mouth rinsing, spitting and drinking through a straw should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.

Take the prescribed pain medication as soon as you get home, prior to the local anesthetic (dental freezing) wearing off. Place ice packs on the sides of your face where the surgery was performed to help reduce swelling.

Restrict your activities the day of surgery. Return home immediately following discharge from the office. Anesthetic effects vary by individual, and you may feel drowsy for a period of time following surgery. Rest, lie down with your head elevated until all the effects of the anesthesia have disappeared. Swelling, discomfort, bleeding are normal and to be expected.


Avoid activities that create pressure within the sinus for 10 days. To allow proper healing we do not want to create a difference in air pressure between the sinus and the mouth, as this can cause pressure within the surgical site. DO NOT blow your nose, DO NOT drink through a straw, DO NOT smoke. If you must sneeze, try to sneeze with your mouth open. Avoid scuba diving or flying in an aircraft. It is common to have the feeling of a stuffy nose, have nasal drainage or to have blood come from the nose on the same side as your surgery. If this happens, you can wipe your nose to remove any discharge but avoid blowing your nose to remove the content. 


Unfortunately, most surgeries are accompanied by some degree of discomfort. To help reduce your symptoms we advise you to begin taking the pain medications prescribed within 2 hours following your surgery. This ensures that the medication is acting prior to the local anesthetic wearing off, when it may be more difficult to control the pain. Take the anti-inflammatory pain medication as prescribed every 6 hours immediately following surgery and continue for 2-3 days following surgery whether there is discomfort or not. If you feel continued discomfort you can also take the narcotic pain medication as prescribed at the same time as the anti-inflammatory to help reduce any symptoms. The narcotic pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking it. Taking the medication with soft foods and/or fluids will lesson any side effects of nausea or stomach upset.


Antibiotics, if prescribed to prevent infection, should be taken as prescribed until finished. It is not uncommon to feel slightly nauseated or itchy when beginning the antibiotics. If you develop a rash or other unfavorable reaction call the office for further information. If you are currently taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills), you should use an alternate method of birth control for the remainder of this cycle.


Nasal decongestants can help to reduce discomfort and sinus pressure after surgery, and ensure adequate aeration of the surgical site. If Drs. Goth or Olsen has prescribed a nasal decongestant to reduce the feeling of a ‘stuffy nose’, take the decongestant for the time period recommended.


DO NOT smoke for 14 days following this type of sinus surgery. Cigarette smoke decreases the healing potential of the area and increases the risk of complications, infection, and graft failure.


Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential to reduce pain and lessen the incidence of infection. No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery with a small amount of toothpaste or warm, salt water but rinse gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5 to 6 times a day with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. Avoid using any commercial mouth rinses as alcohol contained within them slows the healing process. If the corners of your mouth were dry at the time of surgery they may become cracked or red during healing. You can keep the lips and area moist with an ointment such as Vaseline or Blistex.


Sutures are placed to minimize bleeding and to help with healing. They will dissolve on their own within a week. Sometimes they become dislodged early with cleaning or food. This is no cause for alarm. Contact our office for instructions and to make an appointment for evaluation; but typically the site will gradually fill in with new tissue over the next 3 to 4 weeks. It is important to keep the area clean with gentle rinsing with warm salt water.


It is not uncommon for small fragments of bone to migrate from the surgical site during healing and protrude through the gum tissue. These small pieces can sometimes be irritating to the oral tissue and tongue. If this does happen please contact us to arrange an evaluation in the office. 


Your case is individual. No two mouths are alike. It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and easy as possible. If you have any questions about your progress or any symptoms you are experiencing, please call the office at (587) 425-1600.