Dental oral surgery is any surgical procedure that involves the teeth, the jawbones that the teeth grow out of, and the gums that they cut through to be visible.
Dental surgery is just one aspect of oral surgery. The two may sound interchangeable, but they are not.
Unlike dental surgery, oral surgery is not specific to the teeth. Rather, oral surgery involves the whole jaw, the oral cavity, and even the face.
Thus, every dental surgery is oral surgery, but oral surgery is not always dental. For example, jaw realignment surgery and surgery to remove oral tumors and cysts are oral surgeries, but they are not dental.
Different dental conditions and surgical procedures may seem alike, so preoperative education is very important. It gives you a proper understanding of your condition, the steps of the required surgical procedure, potential stressful scenarios associated with the procedure, and the expected outcomes.
In fact, being well informed is one of the best methods of care, pre- and post-surgery. It can help ease the fears of pre-surgery and can help with pain management post-surgery.
In this ultimate guide to understanding all types of dental surgery, we’ll look at:
- The different types of dental oral surgery and the reasons for each
- Everything about dental implant surgery
- All you need to know about recovery after surgery
Let’s dive in!
Types of Dental Surgery and Why You Might Need Them
The most common types of dental surgery include root canal surgery, dental implant surgery, wisdom tooth extraction, cosmetic dental surgery, and laser dental surgery.
Root Canal Surgery
Root canal surgery is a procedure to reach below the hard enamel of a decayed tooth and remove the bacteria-infected pulp.
When a tooth decays, bacteria enter the soft pulp that contains blood vessels, nerve endings, and tissue causing dental pain and swelling. Left untreated, the bacteria will multiply and spread, causing more decay.
The root canal treatment involves removing the infected pulp, filling the canal, and placing a cap on the tooth to seal it. The procedure prevents further decay, thereby saving the decayed tooth without removing it.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction is a dental procedure to remove wisdom teeth (the last molars to come in) if they are causing dental problems.
Wisdom teeth usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. Sometimes, they do not emerge properly or erupt at all.
Especially if your jaws are not large enough, wisdom teeth may not fully emerge or may emerge and crowd against neighboring teeth. Emerging problems can pose serious problems, including infection, damage to other teeth, or even a cyst.
The wisdom tooth extraction procedure involves extracting the wisdom tooth and stitching the site to facilitate healing.
Cosmetic Dental Surgery
Cosmetic dental surgeries are dental procedures that may not be medically necessary, but are important to improve the appearance of your smile.
If you do not like the appearance of your teeth when you smile. One or more cosmetic dental surgical procedures may come to your rescue.
Laser Dental Surgery
Laser dental surgery is used in different procedures, including treating tooth decay, treating gum disease, and whitening teeth.
It allows dental surgeons to work within a highly specific area. So, laser surgery for teeth is best when there cannot be damage to the environment of the target area.
The precision treatment that laser surgery for teeth provides makes for lesser post-operative pain and faster recovery time.
Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery is a procedure to help you replace a missing tooth. It involves fusing an artificial tooth root into your jawbone to which the artificial tooth will be screwed.
You need a dental implant if you are missing a tooth, and you need a tooth replacement that is as natural as possible. The implant is permanently anchored in the jawbone.
Dental implant surgery is one of the most common types of dental surgery. We will discuss this popular procedure in further detail below.
Growing in Popularity: Dental Implant Surgery
You already know that dental implant surgery involves putting a fixture into your jawbone that will root your artificial tooth.
What are the types of implants available, what is the procedure like, and why are people opting for dental implants instead of traditional dentures?
Types of dental implants
There are two main types of dental implants – endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants.
- Endosteal implants. Endosteal means located within bone or cartilage. So, an endosteal implant goes into the jawbone and is anchored there. It then protrudes from the gums to act as an artificial root for a replacement tooth. This is the most common type of dental implant.
- Subperiosteal implants. Subperiosteal means located on the bone but beneath the thin periosteum that covers the outer surface of bones. So, a subperiosteal implant rests on top of the jawbone. It then protrudes from the gums and provides attachment posts for the replacement tooth.
If your jawbone is not sturdy enough to support an implant that goes into it, and you do not want a bone graft to make it sturdy, a subperiosteal implant is best for you.
Dental Implant Procedure
The entire dental implant process usually takes several months. However, the process involves 3 simple steps — placing the implant, allowing bone growth, and securing the artificial tooth.
Note that these steps describe the more popular endosteal implants.
- Placing the implant. First, the area is numbed. Then the gum is cut to expose the jawbone before a small hole is drilled into the jawbone. Then, a titanium implant is fitted into the hole. Lastly, the gum is closed.
When you need bone grafting surgery to make the jawbone sturdy enough to hold the implant, the bone will have to heal before the implant is added.
- Allowing bone growth. The jawbone is then allowed to grow around the implant. Bone growth can take up to 6 months.
- Securing the artificial tooth. First, a mold is taken for the crown. Then the artificial tooth is secured either in a fixed or removable fashion, depending on what you prefer.
Why is Dental Implant Surgery growing in popularity?
Dental implants are gaining popularity even over traditional dentures because they make your replacement tooth function, feel, and look like a natural tooth.
Other reasons why people opt for dental implants include:
- Dental implants are permanent. Unlike dentures and bridges, dental implants are permanent. In fact, dental implants are the only tooth replacement option. So, though the initial investment is substantial, in the long run, it is less costly.
- Dental implants are well anchored. They do not slip or make noise, as may happen with dentures.
- Dental implants preserve the jawbone. Because the implant fuses with the jawbone, it does not cause bone damage. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement procedure that prevents bone resorption (the disappearance of bone over time).
Recovery After Dental Surgery
Depending on the particular procedure, after dental surgery you may experience some pain and swelling. Also, there may be light bleeding for up to 24 hours. However, these will improve steadily as time passes. If you do not see improvement, be sure to call your dentist immediately.
How can you subdue pain and discomfort?
You can subdue pain and discomfort after dental surgery by using prescribed medication, warm water, and ice treatments.
- Medication. If your doctor gives you medication for the pain, take them as instructed.
- Warm water ‘treatment’. After the surgery, you may rinse your mouth gently with just warm water. Then 24 hours after the procedure, you can rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day.
- Ice ‘treatment’. You may put ice or a cold pack on your cheek for about 15 minutes. You can do this several times a day. It will help relieve the pain and bring down the swelling.
When should you call the doctor?
During recovery after dental surgery, you should call your doctor immediately if the pain becomes too much, if bleeding persists or becomes heavy, or if the treatment site becomes infected.
Signs that the treatment site is infected include:
- Increased pain or swelling
- Pus leaking from the treatment site
- Sour taste in the mouth
In addition to these, do not hesitate to call your doctor if:
- Pain persists even after taking medicine
- Bleeding from the extraction site persists after 24 hours or is somewhat heavy
- Stitches in your gum loosen
- Your incisions open up
- You are vomiting or have nausea
- You cannot drink fluids
How long does it take for recovery after dental surgery?
After dental surgery, you’re not expected to rest for more than 2 to 3 days. However, while recovery is relatively quick, it may take several weeks for your mouth to fully heal (depending on the particular procedure done).
It may require up to two weeks for the mouth to fully heal after an extraction, while it may require up to 6 weeks to fully heal after dental implant surgery.
Recovery after dental surgery depends on the type of surgical procedure you do. Other factors that can affect recovery include:
- Your dental health
- The size and location of the tooth
- How well you adhere to post-operative instructions
Is dry socket a real risk?
Dry socket is a real risk. A dry socket happens when a blood clot does not develop in the tooth socket after extraction or when the blood clot that develops is dislodged or dissolves before the wound heals.
The blood clot can be dislodged by some physical activity, using straws, chewing, brushing, or flossing near the site.
A dry socket causes severe pain to the socket and the side of the face. So, you should adhere religiously to aftercare instructions to avoid dry sockets.
What to eat or drink after dental surgery
After dental surgery, avoid solid food and instead go for soft food that is easily ingestible. You need to be hydrated, so drink plenty of water and stay clear of drinks that will dehydrate you.
Food to eat include:
- Thin soups
- Mashed potatoes
- Well-cooked pasta
- Well-cooked vegetables
Food to Avoid include:
- Spicy food
- Crunchy food
Drinks to go for include:
- Smoothies (don’t use fruits with small seeds)
- Yogurt and Ice cream
Drinks to avoid:
- Carbonated drinks
Tips for a successful dental surgery
The biggest tip to having a successful dental surgery is finding the right dental care person.
The right dentist will:
- Properly examine you to identify your particular needs
- Properly educate you about your condition and treatment options
- Perform the procedure using high-quality material and the best technologies
- Give you proper post-operative care
In order to have a successful dental surgery, you have to visit Dr. Kneib at Kneib Dentistry. With over 30 years of experience, technologically advanced dentistry, and exquisite support staff, going to Kneib Dentistry puts you on the way to having a successful dental surgery.
Besides finding the right dentist, another big tip to having a successful dental surgery is adhering to aftercare instructions.
- Avoiding food and drinks that you should not take
- Taking medications as prescribed, as well as using warm water and ice “treatments.”
- Avoiding chewing, flossing, or brushing near the treatment site for a couple of days
- Not taking drinks using straws (doing this can cause dry socket)
- Not smoking (doing this can cause infection)
- Limiting physical activity so as not to dislodge blood clot and cause dry socket
Whether you require dental implant surgery or any other type of dental surgery, the procedure’s success starts with choosing a dentist with enough expertise and a good facility. Dr. Kneib of Kneib Dentistry checks these boxes and is guaranteed to exceed your expectations.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kneib today and get the dental care that’ll give you the attractive smile you so deserve.