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Does a Sinus Lift Bone Graft For Dental Implants Affect Breathing?

Does a sinus lift bone graft for dental implants affect breathing?  A patient asked me this today. 

She does not have enough bone in her upper molar area so she needs me to rebuild the bone.  That is the purpose of this procedure.  It allows you to have dental implants for upper back teeth, if the bone is deficient.

Over the last ten years, this question has come up several times in my Burbank, California office.  It has been my personal experience that breathing through the nose stays exactly the same or actually improves for some!  I have probably been told 40-60 times by my patients that their sinuses feel "clearer."

It is probably related to fact that the sinus is opened for this procedure.  Although the opening is quite small, it may allow you to "clear out" whatever may have been there for years.

I have never seen a sinus worsen, although that is possible.  Most complications that do occur would be an infection that may be treated with a second round of antibiotics.

The skill of your implant dentist is probably the most critical factor.

8 thoughts on “Does a Sinus Lift Bone Graft For Dental Implants Affect Breathing?

  1. My 89 year old father just had tooth #2 extracted which was part of a bridge, so he has lost two of his molars and is now uncomfortable eating. He was told that in order to get an implant he would need a sinus lift bone graft. How long would it take until he has a functioning implant, and is this a safe procedure for a 90 year old? Are there other options? Thank you.

  2. I had bone graft in front (central incisor part) a month ago. I just remembered during the surgery, I had a hard time breathing. It was a nightmare, whenever the dentist touches my nose I feel like my nose is being covered or pinched to the point that I couldn’t breathe. I tried to breathe through my mouth but it wasn’t as comfortable as breathing through nose. Even my nose isn’t being touched, it still felt like that the amount of air i’m breathing is very limited. I just want to know if it’s normal? Whenever I think about it, it makes me scared for the next surgery.

    1. It is probably related to anxiety if it goes away. You should be IV sedated for the next surgery if this is the case. It is way easier that way!

  3. A very confusing subject for the layman. My daughter needs an implant or bridge we are swayed toward implant. She does need a sinus lift and after reading this and other articles, I don’t know how bad a traditional sinus lift is compared to the IRaise procedure… (which you called a gimmick).
    Can you advise me please?

    1. see this post for a lot of details.

      Please keep in mind that the skill set and experience of your surgeons is highly variable. I would ask how many of these have the done and how long they’ve been doing it for. This type of procedure is delicate and technique sensitive.

  4. I went for a second opinion today after “parting ways” with the periodontist, I chose to get (2) implants. (Dr. Howard-EXPERT 2nd opinion)

    From the beginning, I knew I did not have enough bone, so grafting was discussed and done after #5 & #12 were extracted.
    The required 3-D x-ray was also done, and I noticed later on, that there was a doctor form attached and “check sinus” was clearly written, as an area to view, but not discussed with me.
    #12 is fine but #5 failed, 3 months after I got the crowns placed. I had a very chronic and painful inner earache, a month after the implants were placed with IV sedation.
    My primary care doctor said “it (ear) does not look red”. (which is why I wrote, inner ear)
    An ENT called my home after I went to a walk in clinic for this same earache. It was driving me crazy! He asked if I had gotten dental implants and then stated he thought one or both was infected and they might fail. Only my orthodontist agreed that an earache can be related, even without a sinus graft. (3) months later…#5 fails.

    Having an implant removed is no picnic. Plus, I am a chronic pain patient (long story- 4 level cervical fusion) Being on “gas” for 2 hours, twice in 3 months, and I had vitamin B-12 deficiency, and still working on replenishing this. NOBODY CARES.
    Pain medication was an ice pack and a 2 oz bottle of Listerine…no kidding!

    May 2015, and I am told that there is bone loss already, and I cannot get the crown.
    I had been calling and complaining all along about shooting pain and this earache. We were going out of the country on vacation and he did not order any antibiotic! The dentist that was evaluating me for braces on my bottom teeth, called in Z-pack. It quieted everything down and the earache too! He saved our vacation. (He also took a paradex right when we returned) June 2015 x-ray shows NO bone loss.
    Two other dental surgeons, viewed this same x-ray a month after I took the antibiotic. The periodontist who did the work REFUSED to look at the paradex x-ray, because it came from another office!
    Anyway….the other(s) said that it looked fine and they saw NO BONE LOSS. Both said, “why not try a temporary for a few months and see how it goes”. The periodontist will not give my dentist the “ok” to put the crown on, that I already paid for. He thinks the Z-pack was why everything looks good….. for now.

    I went for another opinion to a dental surgeon who ONLY does Dental Implants, and he concurred about the “temp crown”. He also said, that I should have had a sinus lift, so I would have been able to get more implants behind #5 & #12. He said, “now, it is too late, because the bottom teeth are growing up, to fill in the gap where there are no back UPPER teeth.
    Too late to make #5 have the sinus lift. Waiting to see if pain returns.
    My dentist called and said he would wait until September, and then if I have no “issues or pain”, he would MAYBE place the crown that is already paid for.
    He still thinks a “ball & socket procedure”, is best long term for me, but he would have to remove the #12 implant that is perfectly fine to do it!!! WHY WOULD he think, I want to rip out the good side? I paid $3,750.00 for (2) crowns and my insurance kicked in for one. (I was never reimbursed for what was paid either, so technically, the crown should be free)
    I read about a procedure called I-RAISE Sinus Lift Implant developed by Israel-based Maxillent LTD. Does any surgeon in the US do this yet?
    Any ideas/opinion on anything I can do if #5 fails again? Would I then be able to get the sinus lift after getting #5 removed?
    Bottom teeth “growing up to meet gap in upper area”….what does this mean going forward in time?
    I guess I am angry that I was never told about this sinus lift, until he confessed that he, should have done that.
    Time is my enemy, and now it appears I have little or no options, after all the time and money I have invested so far, plus all the radiation of all these additional x-rays from various offices.
    From day one, I was told, that the bone grafting was the “end all be all”, to ensuring a perfect outcome.
    The only dentist I trust, is the one that said “it is too late for a sinus lift, and there is no room for any more implants.”
    He is who I needed from day one.
    I should have been afforded the same honesty that I gave though my medical history and that would have had to been, an actual SURGEON, not a periodontist. Anyone reading this, do not make the mistakes I did when choosing a dental implant surgeon.
    I need a “Botched Dental Implant surgeon”, to help me find a way to remedy this.
    Please, please if you have any idea(s) or options for this insane situation, I would be so sincerely grateful.
    Thank you~

    1. Yikes!
      I am so sorry you have has been negative experience. Typically a dental implant with a sinus lift in my practice is a very straight forward process. There is literally 1% complication rate. These 1% of patients can be easily corrected also.

      I would go with a temporary crown option and see how everything does. Keep the temporary crowns for 1 year.

      I-RAISE Sinus Lift Implant is a gimmick. Any skilled implant dentist with experience can perform a sinus graft very easily. These products are intended more for inexperienced dental implant surgeons

      Good luck,

      Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
      Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
      Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry

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Dr. Ramsey Amin has extensive experience in surgical and restorative implant dentistry. As one of only less than 400 Diplomates of the American Board of Oral Implantology/ Implant Dentistry (ABOI/ID) he is considered an expert, and board-certified in dental implants. He is a former instructor at the UCLA School of Dentistry.