It's natural to be curious about dental surgery. What is it? How is it done? And does it hurt? Today we’ll cover these questions and more as our Midland dentists provide facts and answer FAQs from patients.
What is dental surgery?
Dental 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, it's likely that you need dental surgery to preserve or improve your oral health. At Midland Family Dentistry, 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 and some commonly performed dental surgery procedures include:
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth need to be extracted in cases where they grow 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 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 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 is the removal of a damaged tooth root, with the goal of saving the tooth from needing to be extracted. The pulp will be removed from the tooth and the space cleaned before your dentist adds 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 your procedure, you may feel some discomfort or pain after a dental surgery, but it should be manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication.
What can I do to speed recovery?
Recovery typically takes a few days, but in order to ensure a faster, smoother recovery, keep these 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 (or 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.
Do you have questions about an upcoming dental surgery at Midland Family Dentistry? Our Midland dentists can address inquiries or concerns you may have. Contact us today.