You've heard the term dental surgery (oral surgery) but what exactly does it mean? How is it done? And does it hurt? Today we’ll cover these questions and more as our Morden dentists provide facts and answers to questions commonly asked by our patients.
What is dental surgery?
Dental surgery - also called oral surgery - is a broad term referring to a number of medical procedures involving the teeth and gums. If you need dental implants, a wisdom tooth extraction, root canal or something else, we might say you need dental surgery to preserve or improve your oral health. At Boundary Trails Dental Centre we take a preventive approach to dental care and always strive to recommend the least invasive procedure possible while still effectively resolving dental issues for our patients.
That said, in some cases, surgery is necessary. A few of the most common dental surgery procedures include:
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth need to be extracted in cases where they come in misaligned, or if they cause crowding or other dental issues. Wisdom teeth extractions sometimes need to be performed in a surgeon’s office, and may or may not involve anesthesia. The dentist will open the gum tissue, clean any debris or bone covering the tooth, then choose to extract the entire tooth or cut it into more easily removable parts.
Once the procedure is complete, your oral surgeon may use either dissolving stitches or removable stitches (which you’ll have a followup appointment to have removed). Recovery usually takes a few days and you’ll need to eat soft foods until the area heals.
Implants and bridges are tooth replacements. While dental implants serve as artificial roots used to support replacement teeth, bridges are false teeth that fill a gap between healthy teeth and dental implants on both sides to help restore your smile’s function and appearance.
Implants are surgically placed in the jaw bone, underneath the gum tissue. Recovery and healing typically takes between 3 and 6 months following surgery. The patient will then return to the office to complete the procedure.
At this second appointment, your dentist will attach the tooth replacement (a bridge, crown or denture) to the implant.
A root canal involves the removal of a damaged tooth root, saving the tooth from needing to be extracted. The pulp will be removed from the tooth and the space cleaned. Next, your dentist will add a filling or crown to help restore the tooth’s function.
The root canal will be finished with a crown or filling. Though the tooth may feel sensitive for the first few days, and you’ll need to stick to soft foods, the procedure is usually highly successful and recovery should be uneventful.
Is dental surgery painful?
Each procedure differs somewhat on recovery time and how much discomfort you can expect but in most cases you may feel some pain after a dental surgery but it should be manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication.
What can I do to encourage recovery?
Recovery generally takes a few days. In order to ensure a speedy, smooth recovery, keep these general tips in mind:
- Do not lie flat – try to lie on your side to give blood a chance to clot.
- Apply an ice pack to the area intermittently during the first 24 hours (as directed by your dentist).
- Restrict strenuous physical activity, as it may increase bleeding.
- Eat soft foods. You may gradually add solid foods back to your menu as recovery happens.
- Avoid using straws. Sucking on a straw may loosen a blood clot, encouraging bleeding and delaying healing.
Dental surgeries can range from simple to complex, and have varying timelines and recovery times. If you have any questions about your procedure, its benefits or after-care, consult your dentist.