Many times when a dentist mentions oral surgery, it can be met with panic and fear. However, what many patients don’t realize is that oral surgery is more common than they think. Oral surgery covers a wide range of procedures that address common conditions with which patients may struggle. It is typically considered an outpatient procedure allowing patients to return to normal activities within a few days.
If you’ve never had more than a filling, the thought of oral surgery may feel daunting, but knowing what to expect for surgical procedures can give you more confidence. To remove some worry and help you arrive better prepared, we’ve decided to share a few facts about the most common procedures we perform.
The wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are the last teeth to develop. Though they may not cause issues every time, the average mouth does not have enough room to support the extra teeth. This can cause your teeth to become impacted between the gums and jawbone, causing swelling, pain, and infection affecting the health of surrounding teeth.
After a dentist has seen your x-ray, they can determine whether or not you should have your wisdom teeth removed. During this procedure, the teeth are removed through a surgical incision and stitched closed to aid in healing. Wisdom tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure that takes a few days to fully recover.
Root canals are widely regarded as the most common type of oral surgery with millions of teeth being treated every year. Underneath the surface of your teeth is a soft core known as dental pulp which contains blood vessels, nerve endings, and tissue. When a tooth starts to decay and is left untreated, bacteria can enter the tooth and begin to infect the pulp. This infection will cause pain, swelling, and sensitivity.
During a root canal, the decayed part of the tooth is removed and the infected pulp extracted. Once the tooth is thoroughly clean, it is then sealed. The final step is to restore your tooth using a crown or larger filling to protect it from damage and restore your tooth to full functionality. Root canals are typically outpatient procedures that may be broken up into smaller parts to ensure proper treatment and may take a few days to fully recover.
If you have lost a tooth due to injury or infection, a dental implant can help fill the gap. Dental implants replace the root or roots of a tooth. They are used to secure crowns to the jawbone using a metal post made of titanium or titanium alloy. These metals are lightweight and biocompatible meaning they are less likely to be rejected by the body.
Dental implants are a longer type of dental surgery as it takes time for the bone to properly fuse around the implant before the artificial tooth can be placed. The procedure is typically broken into two procedures. First, the mounting system will be installed. After approximately two months and the site is healed, the artificial replacement tooth will be attached. You may use a temporary cosmetic tooth during the healing process which will conceal the gap in your teeth.
Dental implants can significantly improve your quality of life as they restore functionality and confidence in your smile.
Accidents can happen and cause facial trauma that may affect your oral health. Reconstructive surgery can help you regain function and correct any injuries that may have occurred. Though the patient’s condition will determine the best treatment option, reconstructive surgery is generally broken into two types: soft tissue injuries and fractures.
Soft tissue injuries include damage to the gums, tongue, cheeks, or palate. Fractures refer to damage directly to the jawbone, teeth, and any bone tissue within the mouth.
Sleep apnea is a condition that involves pauses in breathing during sleep which can be caused by a variety of conditions. If conservative treatments do not reduce symptoms of sleep apnea, surgical intervention may be the solution.
During this procedure, excess tissue from the lower jaw or back of the throat is removed to alleviate and reduce symptoms. Laser surgery may also be used to tighten the palate to prevent soft tissues from collapsing on the airway during sleep.
We hope that with this new knowledge you have a better understanding of these common oral surgeries. Whatever your oral needs may be, we are here to assist you every step of the way by addressing any worries and concerns about procedures and ensuring your needs and comfort come first.
For more information on these common oral surgeries or to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. L’Tanya Joy Bailey, DDS, MS, PLLC today.