Often, when a dentist mentions dental surgery, it is met with fear or even panic from their patients. Many imagine a painful, expensive procedure with a long, difficult recovery.
What many patients don’t realize is that dental surgery is very common and includes procedures that address oral health problems that many people will face in their lifetimes. For most, dental surgery will be an outpatient procedure, and patients can generally resume regular activity within a few days.
The most common types of dental surgery are procedures that many people may not even consider dental surgery because they are so routine — such as orthodonture work or teeth whitening.
Dental surgery is a broad term for any surgical procedures performed on your teeth, soft tissue of the mouth, jaw bones, or supporting structures of the face.
It includes a wide range of procedures, including teeth extractions, root canal treatment, dental implants, periodontal (gum) grafts, dental bone grafts, oral cancer treatment, and reconstructive surgeries for facial injuries.
Your general dentist is trained and qualified to perform numerous dental surgeries, though they may refer you to an oral surgeon for some surgeries. An oral surgeon — often referred to as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon — receives additional education and training to specialize in various types of dental surgery.
Types of dental surgery to help patients maintain good dental health include:
Your dentist or surgeon will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your dental issue, including dental X-rays and other scans. Using this information, they’ll tailor a personalized treatment plan.
Sometimes, oral surgery is performed in a dental office as an outpatient procedure. Your surgeon may offer sedation options for your comfort, including nitrous oxide, oral medications, or intravenous (IV) moderate or deep sedation. In other cases, oral surgery may be completed in a hospital under general anesthesia.
The length of your procedure will depend on several factors, including what type of oral surgery you’re having, how many teeth are being treated, and whether or not you choose sedation.
Following your oral surgery procedure, you’ll be given detailed post-operative instructions. It’s important that you follow these guidelines closely to reduce your risk of bleeding, infection, and other complications.
The risks of dental surgery can include:
You can minimize your risk for these complications by following your post-operative guidelines and taking all medications as prescribed. If you develop any of these side effects, call your dentist or oral surgeon for further instructions.
The advantage of dental surgery is that your teeth, gums, and jaw joints are all meant to work together harmoniously for optimal oral health and function. The goal of oral surgery is to address any issue that interferes with your health or quality of life.