Tooth Extraction Complications: Maxillary Sinus Exposure/Perforation – Part 4

There is a certain degree of risk that comes with any surgical procedure. An oral surgery procedure such as the removal of the wisdom teeth is no exception.  Although your oral surgeon will make every attempt to provide you with a flawless and uneventful experience, it is always recommended that you be familiar with all of the risks and benefits of tooth extraction surgery.

As a part of our normal anatomy, the upper molars and premolars are located relatively close to the sinuses and there are times where the tips of the roots lie within the sinus cavity itself.  The maxillary sinus cavities are air-filled openings in the area behind the cheekbones. The roots of the upper back teeth are located just beneath the sinuses, and this relationship can sometimes present unwanted complications when these teeth are removed.

During surgery, the roots of the upper back teeth can puncture the bone that surrounds the sinuses. In some cases, the bone can be especially thin, decreasing the amount of space that separates the teeth from the sinus cavities. In fact, for some patients, as mentioned above, there is no bone between the teeth and the sinuses and the roots of the teeth are positioned within the sinus cavity. When the tooth is removed, a gap or hole is left in the sinus, a condition known as a sinus exposure or perforation.

If a sinus perforation occurs at the time of surgery, it is usually detected immediately and repaired immediately while a patient is still under general anesthesia.  Generally, sinus exposures can be expected to heal from that point naturally, with little or no additional treatment.  However, if an exposure should occur, you will be instructed to take a few special precautions in order to promote a speedy recovery:

  • Avoid blowing your nose forcefully for at least 21 days. The pressure could disrupt the natural healing process. Instead, you will be advised to use nasal decongestants as necessary.
  • Avoid any other blowing action that involves the nasal cavity. This includes any blowing up balloons, musical instruments, scuba diving, and even strenuous exercise.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw for 21 days as well as any carbonated beverages.
  • You will instructed to also perform open mouth sneezing if the urge should arise.
  • Antibiotics are also usually always prescribed too since there can be travel of bacteria from the oral cavity up into the sinus cavity from the perforated area.

Our skilled and dedicated team at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio is prepared to review the details, risks, and benefits that are related to your wisdom teeth removal. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your consultation today.