What Can I Expect During Dental Surgery?
Dental surgery, also known as oral surgery, is synonymous with pain and discomfort for many people. However, this type of surgery can produce near miraculous results for patients suffering from a dental infection, an impacted wisdom tooth, missing teeth, or a host of other general or cosmetic dental problems.
There are many different types of dental surgery. General dental surgery typically involves clearing an infection, such as the case of a root canal, or removing a damaged or impacted tooth. Cosmetic dental surgery is usually aimed at improving the patient’s looks. For example, a dental implant, or artificial tooth root, can be implanted into the jaw to replace a missing tooth. Gummy smile surgery can provide a more balanced-looking smile for a patient who has overgrown gums or smaller-than-normal teeth. A full mouth restoration can fix several cosmetic dental problems at one time.
Not every dentist is qualified to perform oral surgery. Some dentists only have the certifications to perform general dental treatments that do not require anything more than local anesthesia, such as drilling out and filling cavities. Other dentists are certified to use local anesthetic as well as nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. A select few dentists have certification in intravenous sedation, which allows them to administer anesthetic directly through an IV.
This type of sedation allows them to perform more complicated dental surgeries. Ask your dentist about the types of sedation he or she can administer before you consent to dental surgery.
On the day of your oral surgery, your dentist may ask you to refrain from eating or smoking for a few hours prior to the surgery. This not only reduces your chances of stomach upset, but it also reduces your risk of infection caused by tar from smoking or trapped food particles.
Your dentist will typically perform the surgery in his or her office with the assistance of a dental hygienist. After the procedure is finished, you may be asked to wait for a few minutes so the dentist can be sure that you will not experience any side effects from the anesthetic or from the procedure. You will probably be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything except for water for a few hours after the procedure to prevent infection.
After a period of a few days or weeks, you will return to the dentist’s office for a recheck. This check allows the dentist to check the progress of healing as well as to fix any problems, such as infection, before they become serious.