What is Considered Oral Surgery?
Oral surgery covers procedures that involve cutting into the tissues in your mouth, for example, your gums or jawbone. The procedures considered to be oral surgery include removing teeth and wisdom teeth, any surgery to your gums, or the surgery required to place dental implants. These treatments include bone grafts and reshaping your jawbone, for example in preparation for dentures. Oral surgery can be used to eliminate diseased tissue from the mouth, to correct problems with your jaws, or for treating teeth that have been previously treated with a root canal, but which have a persistent infection.
For some more complicated oral surgical procedures, our dentist Dr. Benjamin Hull might choose to refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Other times, minor oral surgical procedures are routinely performed at Ivory Dental. Two routine oral surgical procedures used in our dental practice include bone grafting and dental implants.
Bone Grafting and Dental Implants
Bone grafting is frequently required in preparation for dental implants and the technologies used to place bone grafts have improved significantly over the past few years. Dr. Hull can use bone grafting to correct bone defects that may have been caused by gum disease and which can be used in conjunction with gum surgery1. These types of treatments help to increase the amount of available bone, providing sufficient bone to hold dental implants firmly in place. Bone grafting and gum surgery can also help to create a more aesthetically pleasing outcome, ensuring the gums are correctly shaped around the dental implants, so the final restorations look natural and are easier to keep clean.
One common bone grafting technique that is frequently required in preparation for dental implants is a sinus lift or sinus augmentation. You may need a sinus lift if you wish to have dental implants to replace upper back teeth because these are the teeth nearest to your sinus cavities. Your sinus cavities are air-filled spaces, and often the bone in this area is naturally thinner and weaker. A sinus lift is a small procedure where an incision is made into the bone to access the membrane in between your jawbone and sinus cavity, so this can be “lifted” which creates room for bone grafting material to be inserted into the gap. Other bone grafting treatments are designed to widen the bony arch that used to support your natural teeth or to increase its height.
When you have dental implants, the implants are surgically placed into your jawbone, and there are many techniques which may be used. Some implant systems can be placed directly through the gum tissue while others require a small incision to be made into the gums and stitches are placed once the oral surgery is completed. People are often quite surprised at how quick and smooth it can be to place a single dental implant and especially when advanced technology is utilized to carefully preplan treatment. By the time you sit in the dental chair for implant treatment, Dr. Hull will know precisely where and how to place each dental implant, ensuring it is correctly angled to provide excellent functional and aesthetic results.
Tooth Removals and Wisdom Tooth Extractions
If you need a tooth removed, then Dr. Hull will ensure the process is comfortable and quick, and you can rest assured that this treatment will only be suggested as a last resort. We will only remove a tooth that cannot be saved and do everything possible to prolong the life of your natural teeth. Wisdom teeth extractions are frequently required as often there is simply not enough room to accommodate four extra teeth. Spokane Dental2 adds, "some third molars3 come into place but have no matching tooth to bite against. Since these teeth lie in a region of the mouth that is hard to clean, both it and its neighboring 2nd molar are at increased risk for developing tooth decay and/or periodontal disease." It is preferable to have wisdom teeth removed when you are younger and before the bone has fused around these teeth, but they can be removed at any age. Often, wisdom teeth removals can be carried out in-house, and Dr. Hull has extensive training and lots of experience in removing wisdom teeth. However, if needed, we can refer you to an oral surgeon and sometimes this may be preferable if you have severely impacted wisdom teeth and require general anesthesia.
Preparing the Jawbone for Dentures
Sometimes it’s necessary to adjust the jawbone for dentures so that treatment is more successful. An alveoplasty is a procedure during which the jawbone is carefully shaped and contoured, making it more comfortable to wear dentures, and this process may be carried out so that healing after tooth extraction is quicker.
Treating a Re-Infected Root Canal
Root canal therapy is usually very successful, but sometimes a root-treated tooth can have a persistent infection right at the tip of the tooth root. An apicoectomy is a small oral surgical procedure where the tip of the tooth root is accessed and removed, getting rid of any remaining infection.
Keeping You Comfortable during Oral Surgery
We realize the very idea of having oral surgery might seem a little daunting, but it is important to remember that these are routine procedures and we take every precaution to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible during treatment. If you do feel nervous, then it’s worth discussing sedation options with Dr. Hull. Using dental sedation will help you to feel more fully relaxed and can be particularly useful if any lengthier treatments are needed. Dental sedation can be helpful if you require more complicated root canal surgery or dental implants or must have multiple teeth removed.
Ivory Dental offers a choice of dental sedation options and which include oral conscious sedation. With oral conscious sedation, you will feel very relaxed and comfortable but will remain conscious and awake throughout your appointment. Oral conscious sedation can be provided in tablet form shortly before your appointment, or as Nitrous oxide or laughing gas. If you think this level of sedation isn’t quite sufficient to calm any nerves, then intravenous conscious sedation4 is another possibility. With intravenous conscious sedation, the sedative is given continuously throughout your treatment and you will feel so deeply relaxed that you may even fall asleep. Intravenous sedation can be very good for anyone who is more anxious about receiving treatment, and afterward, it will seem as if just a few minutes have passed even though your appointment might have been quite long.
If you do need oral surgery, then please don’t worry as our friendly dental team is here to look after you and of course, to answer any questions you may have about your treatment.