When people speak about dental surgery, what is it exactly that they mean? How is it conducted? Does it hurt? Today we’ll cover these questions and more as our Halifax dentists provide facts and answer FAQs from patients.
What is dental surgery?
Dental surgery, or oral surgery, is a broad term that refers to medical procedures involving a patient's teeth and gums. If you require dental implants, a wisdom tooth extraction, a root canal, or something else, we may say that you need dental surgery to preserve or improve your oral health. At Robie Street 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.
However, in some cases, surgery is necessary. A few of the most common dental surgery procedures include:
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth will need to be extracted from your mouth in instances where they cause crowding, misalignment, or other oral health issues if they remain in your smile. Sometimes wisdom tooth extractions will need to be performed in a surgeon's office and may or may not require anesthesia. The dentist will open the gum tissue, clean out debris or bone covering the tooth, and then choose to extract either the entire tooth or break the tooth down into more manageable 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 placed in the jaw bone via surgery beneath the tissue of your gums. The recovery from this procedure generally takes between 3 and 6 months after surgery. The patient will then be able to return to the clinic 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 an extraction. 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.
Root canals are finished with a filling or crown. While the tooth may feel a bit sensitive for the first few days after the procedure and you may need to stick to soft foods, the procedure is usually successful and recovery should go smoothly.
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. In order to ensure a speedy, smooth recovery, keep these general tips in mind:
- Restrict strenuous physical activity, as it may increase bleeding.
- Do not lie flat – try to lie on your side to give blood a chance to clot.
- Eat soft foods. You may gradually add solid foods back to your menu as recovery happens.
- Apply an ice pack to the area intermittently during the first 24 hours (as directed by your dentist).
- 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.