SD-dentist examining patient and doing dental surgery

Dental Surgery: How To Prepare for One

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“Dental surgery” are two words that can make anyone cringe in fear of pain and expense. But, people must know that they’re necessary to address various dental problems.

Good oral hygiene and simple cleaning are often enough to prevent and treat dental problems. However, some are severe enough to warrant surgery. If your dentist recommends one for you, here are some things to know to help you understand and prepare.

What Is Dental Surgery?

Dental surgery, or oral maxillofacial surgery, refers to any procedure performed on your teeth, gums, or jaws. Dentists perform them to address various conditions like:

  • Gum disease
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Broken teeth
  • Sleep apnea
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD)
  • Missing teeth
  • Bone loss
  • Benign bumps and lumps
  • Oral cancer

Different Types of Dental Surgery

Some of the most common surgical dental procedures performed are:

Root Canal

Root canal treatments help dentists save and treat millions of teeth, relieve pain, and make teeth healthier.

Your tooth has three layers: the white and hard enamel, the yellower dentin, and the pulp. This tissue contains the nerves and connective tissues that help your tooth roots grow during development. Your tooth can survive without the pulp once it’s fully developed since the tissues surrounding it continue to nourish it.

Dentists may recommend removing the pulp layer when it gets infected. This is the better alternative to removing your tooth. They’ll make a small hole in your tooth to access the pulp, remove it, then clean it out. Once done, they’ll fill your tooth, seal it, then top it with a crown.

Saving your natural tooth with a root canal allows you to chew and bite as you normally would, retaining your teeth’s natural appearance. It also protects your other teeth from excessive wear and strain.

Dental Implant

Missing teeth are prevalent among Americans; according to the American College of Prosthodontists, nearly 178 million Americans have at least one missing tooth. Missing teeth need to be replaced, and dental implants are the most durable and reliable option. Dentists insert small threaded posts made from medical-grade titanium and zirconia into the jaw to replace missing tooth roots. Once the bone and other soft tissues heal, a dentist can use them to support dental crowns, bridges, or dentures to replace your missing teeth.

Your dentist will apply anesthesia before the procedure to keep you from feeling too much pain. You may also experience discomfort after the procedure, but it won’t last long.

Dental implants have many advantages. They improve your oral and boost your self-esteem, resulting in better mental health. Compared to dentures, implants are more comfortable and easier to eat with. Dentists can also restore them when they get damaged.

Dental Bone Graft

You may need a dental bone graft if your jawbone experiences bone loss. Your teeth’s roots stimulate your jaw nerves, telling the brain to send nutrients to your jaw to keep it healthy and strong. Areas with missing teeth may experience bone deterioration because they don’t have tooth roots to stimulate the nerves.

Dentists often perform bone grafts in preparation for dental implants to give your jaw volume and density. They may also perform them along with periodontal surgery. Severe gum disease can erode your teeth and bones, bone grafts reduce mobility and provides a solid foundation that keeps your teeth strong.

Corrective Jaw Surgery

Also known as orthognathic surgery, corrective jaw surgery addresses your jawbone’s abnormalities. It helps improve chewing function, correct misalignments, and fix facial imbalances for people with jawbone problems. It also treats temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.

Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is the most common surgery dentists perform to treat severe tooth decay, gum disease, wisdom teeth problems, or dental trauma. Sometimes, dentists perform this surgery to prepare you for dentures or other prosthetic devices.

Most dentists prefer to save your natural teeth whenever possible. Tooth extraction is their last resort to maintain your oral health.

A subset of this surgery is wisdom tooth extraction. Dentists may recommend it to prevent cavity development, bone loss, and other oral health problems. Healing may take three days to a week, depending on your wisdom tooth’s condition.

Periodontal Surgery

A gum specialist might recommend surgery for moderate to severe gum disease.

The surgeon will make incisions along the gum line and temporarily move tissues away from your teeth. This allows them to clean your tooth’s roots, flushing out any bacteria and plaque that has accumulated beneath your gums. They’ll reposition your gums and stitch them closed once they’re done.

Gum disease can sometimes make your gums recede, making gum graft necessary. Your surgeon will use donor tissue from the roof of your mouth or a tissue bank to reinforce your gums.

Dental Surgery: How To Prepare for One

Preparing for your maxillofacial surgery goes a long way. Some things you can do to make things easier are:

Keep informed.

Make an appointment with your surgeon to ensure you fully understand why you need the procedure. Ask about the procedure’s potential risks and benefits.

Make sure you have the means to get home.

Going under sedation may leave your judgment impaired. Stay in the clinic for a while until the effects of the sedative wear off. You may also ask a friend or family member to come take you home. Or, arrange for a taxi. No matter what you do, do not drive.

Avoid eating or drinking before the surgery.

Don’t eat or drink anything before the surgery if you’re going under sedation. Fasting helps avoid aspiration, a serious but rare side-effect of anesthesia that can cause your lungs to fill up with your stomach’s contents. Take small amounts of water if you have to take medications before the surgery.

Wear comfortable clothes.

Wear comfortable clothes for your surgery. Make sure it has easy access to your arms to allow your surgeon and his team to monitor your vital signs or give you an IV.

Arrive at the dentist’s office early.

An early arrival will give you enough time to complete the necessary paperwork and relax. This is also the best time to ask any questions you may still have.

Key Takeaway

Dentists and surgeons perform dental surgeries to address dental problems and keep them at bay. Some examples of surgeries dentists and surgeons perform include root canals, implant placements, extractions, and bone grafts.

There are some things you can do to prepare for dental surgery. Wear comfortable clothes and avoid consuming anything before the surgery. Arrive at the dentist’s office early, and make sure you have a means of getting home that doesn’t involve driving.

Improve your oral health today.

Regular visits to the dentist will greatly benefit your oral health. Our dentists near Pagosa Springs, CO, perform various restorative and preventive procedures that help keep your teeth healthy. Call us today; we’ll gladly answer your questions about dental surgery costs and more.

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