When people discuss dental surgery, what exactly do they mean? How is it done? And does it hurt? Here, we'll answer these questions and more as our dentists at Toothworks King-York Dental offer facts and answer frequently asked questions we've received from patients.
What is dental surgery?
This broad term refers to numerous medical procedures involving the teeth and gums. If your dentist has told you you'll need a root canal, wisdom tooth extraction, dental implants or something else, we might say you require dental surgery to preserve or improve your oral health. Our dental team at Toothworks takes a preventive approach to dental care and always strives to recommend the least invasive procedure possible while still effectively resolving our patients' dental issues.
That said, surgery is necessary in some cases. A few of the most common dental surgery procedures include:
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
If they come in misaligned or cause crowding or other dental issues, wisdom teeth will need to be extracted. These procedures sometimes need to be performed in a surgeon's office, and may or may not involve anesthesia. We also perform these at our practice by opening the gum tissue, cleaning any debris or bone covering the tooth, then deciding whether to extract the entire tooth or cut it into more easily removable parts.
Once the dentist has completed the procedure, they may use either dissolving stitches or removable stitches (if these are placed, you'll have a follow-up appointment to have them removed). Typically, recovery takes a few days and you'll need to eat soft foods until the site heals.
These tooth replacements act as artificial roots and are used to support replacement teeth. Bridges are false teeth that can be used to fill a gap between healthy teeth and dental implants on both sides to help restore function and appearance to your smile.
Implants are surgically placed in the jaw bone, beneath gum tissue. Typically, recovery and healing after surgery will take between 3 and 6 months. You will then return to our office to have the procedure completed.
During your second appointment, the dentist will attach a tooth replacement (a crown, bridge 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 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:
- 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.