Visiting your dentist may not make your “top ten fun things to do list” but a healthy smile will make you feel better. Today, dentists try to help patients feel relaxed and comfortable throughout their visit especially when the visit requires surgery. Sedation is almost always given to patients in some form which will help alleviate pain and anxiety. Listed below are some common conditions that usually require oral surgery.
1. Tooth Extraction
Teeth are extracted for a variety of reasons. The most common is because of decay or infection. Other reasons that teeth are removed include making room for braces, infected gums, cosmetic purposes, fractures, or malformation.
Impacted teeth remain lodged in gum tissue or the bone. The reasons vary and include overcrowding. Wisdom teeth are more likely to become impacted because they are the last teeth to develop. Commonly, one or more wisdom teeth become impacted between the bone and gum tissue and cause swelling, pain, and infection in the surrounding gum tissue. Tooth extraction is recommended for impacted teeth.
2. Corrective Jaw Surgery
Jaw surgery may be necessary if a patient experiences temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ) involving distress in the chewing muscles and joint that connect the jaw to skull. TMJ can be a source of headaches and facial pain. Other reasons for jaw surgery include trauma; incorrect bite; excessive clenching or teeth grinding; and eating and chewing difficulty.
Jaw surgery requires cuts in the jawbones which allow them to be moved to the proper position. This surgery is performed in the hospital and requires a stay of two – to – five days.
3. Dental Implants
Patients who have lost teeth may consider getting dental implants to replace them or as an alternative to dentures. Dental implants are becoming more common. Implants are surgically attached to the jawbone and act as a root substitute for artificial teeth or as an anchor for a new or existing denture.
4. Improve Fit of Dentures
Oral surgery can correct jaw irregularities to help the fit of first time denture wearers. Bone grafts can be added if there has been significant bone loss which helps denture wearers have a secure and proper fit.
After mouth surgery, it is normal for the mouth area to be sore for a day or two. Over-the-counter pain medicine will usually relieve the pain. Aspirin is not recommended as it may upset the stomach and increase bleeding. Most patients are able to stand up and walk out of the office after minor surgical procedures and report being able to eat normally within a week. More complicated procedures requiring general anesthesia will require the patient to have a ride home and longer recuperation time.