When people talk about dental surgery, what is it that they mean? How is it done and does it hurt? Here, we will cover these questions and more as our Ottawa dentists provide facts and answer FAQs from patients.
What is dental surgery?
Dental surgery is a relatively broad term that refers to a number o medical procedures that involve the teeth and gums. If you require dental implants, a wisdom tooth extraction, a root canal or some other procedure, we may say that you require oral surgery to preserve or restore your oral health.
At Kent Street Dental, 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 often need to be extracted in cases where they become misaligned or if they cause crowding or other dental issues. Wisdom tooth extractions will sometimes need to be performed in a surgeon's office and may or may not involve anesthesia. The dentist will open the gum tissues, clean debris or bone covering the tooth, and then either extract the entire tooth or break it up into smaller pieces in order to remove ti more easily.
Once the procedure is complete, your oral surgeon may use either dissolving stitches or removable stitches (which you’ll have a follow-up appointment to have removed). Recovery usually takes a few days and you’ll need to eat soft foods until the area heals.
Implants and dental bridges are tooth replacements. While dental implants serve as artificial tooth roots used to support replacement teeth, bridges are false teeth that fill a gap left behind by healthy teeth, using the teeth on either side of the gap or implants to hold them in place. In tandem, these procedures help to restore the function and appearance of your smile.
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 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.
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?
Depending on the specific procedure, you may feel some pain after a dental surgery. However, it should be manageable with over-the-counter pain medication or pain relievers prescribed by your dentist.
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.