What exactly does it mean when someone says "dental surgery"? What is the procedure? Is it also painful? Today, our Penticton dentists will answer these and other questions as they provide facts and answer patient questions.
What is dental surgery?
Dental surgery is a broad term that refers to a variety of dental and gum-related medical procedures. We might say you need dental surgery to preserve or improve your oral health if you need dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, root canal, or something else. We take a preventive approach to dental care at Eckhardt Dental Centre, and we always try to recommend the least invasive procedure possible while still effectively resolving dental issues for our patients.
However, in some cases, surgery is necessary. A few of the most common dental surgery procedures include:
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
When wisdom teeth are misaligned, or if they cause crowding or other dental problems, they must be extracted. Wisdom tooth extractions may or may not require anesthesia and may or may not be performed in a surgeon's office. The dentist will first open the gum tissue, clean any debris or bone covering the tooth, and then decide whether to extract the tooth entirely or cut it into more easily removable parts.
After the procedure, your oral surgeon may use either dissolving stitches or removable stitches (which will be removed at a later appointment). It will take a few days for you to recover, and you will need to eat soft foods until the area heals.
Tooth replacements include implants and bridges. Bridges are false teeth that fill a gap between healthy teeth and dental implants on both sides to help restore the function and appearance of your smile. While dental implants serve as artificial roots to support replacement teeth, bridges are false teeth that fill a gap between healthy teeth and dental implants on both sides to help restore the function and appearance of your smile.
Implants are surgically placed beneath the gum tissue in the jaw bone. Following surgery, recovery and healing usually take 3 to 6 months. After that, the patient will return to the office to finish the procedure.
At this second appointment, your dentist will attach the tooth replacement (a bridge, crown or denture) to the implant.
A root canal is a procedure that involves the removal of a damaged tooth root to prevent the tooth from being extracted. The tooth's pulp will be removed, and the space will be cleaned. After that, your dentist will place a filling or a crown on the tooth to help it function again.
A crown or filling will be used to complete the root canal. Though the tooth may be sensitive for a few days and you'll need to eat soft foods, the procedure is usually a success, and recovery should be relatively painless.
Is dental surgery painful?
Depending on your procedure, 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 typically takes a few days. 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.