What is dental surgery?
Everyone should be familiar with the dentist’s office in some respect, particularly in the UK, where dental treatment is free for people under the age of eighteen, but if you have only ever experienced a normal check-up and you have never had any problems greater than a little plaque here and there, then you might not be familiar with dental surgery. Surgical procedures have been a part of dentistry since modern practice began, and they play a vital role in keeping teeth healthy and functional. There are various techniques that are considered surgery, from routine extractions to things like root canal fillings, and most clinics also provide services like cosmetic restoration, which may be labelled as surgical in nature.
Unfortunately, oral hygiene is becoming a big problem in the western world today, as education on the subject falls by the wayside and attitudes towards diet and cleanliness change for the worse. As a result of this decline in standards, more and more young people are undergoing dental surgery that is entirely avoidable, all it takes is a brush in the morning and then again at night, then they won’t suffer toothache from cavities, fractures, infection, fillings, abscesses, gum disease… the list goes on. For more information on how to keep your teeth in a healthy condition, call the Pearl Dental Clinic and arrange an appointment, you can also take advantage of the many restorative treatments on offer.
What kinds of treatments are considered dental surgery?
Extractions – Patients may need a tooth removing for all kinds of reasons, it could be decayed, damaged, or just in the wrong place. An extraction is a fairly routine procedure that does not normally pose any great risk to the health of the patient, but they can sometimes be traumatic if a lot of teeth have to be pulled at once, or if the patient is very young. Removing wisdom teeth is slightly more complicated, simply because of their size and position, and they will often bleed more than other teeth when pulled from their sockets. Patients are not usually given a general anaesthetic during an extraction, but that depends on their overall health and the nature of their condition – most dentists would prefer to stick to a local anaesthetic, to eliminate the risks associated with working on an unconscious patient.
Fillings – A filling is a procedure that aims to remove decayed minerals and replace them with either amalgam or composite bonding material, to keep the tooth strong, and to prevent the decay from spreading. Root canal fillings are more surgical than simply filling a cavity, because this type of operation involves removing the nerve centre of the tooth and filling the empty canal, so the tooth is essentially dead once the treatment has been completed. It is also common practice to cover the remaining fragments with a porcelain crown, to make sure the tooth doesn’t incur any more damage, and to avoid an extraction. Although amalgam has been used for decades to repair cavities, composite bonding is generally a more popular option today, mainly because it is coloured to match the shade of the enamel, so that the filling is not noticeable from the outside – however, it is not always as strong as amalgam, especially when used to fill holes in the hard-working back molars.
Gum disease – An infection that starts with painless bleeding from the gums might not necessarily seem like a big problem, but gum disease is rife among adults in the UK, and it contributes to tooth loss on a massive scale. Treatment for gum disease varies depending on the stage it has reached and what sort of condition the teeth are in, if they are still stable and healthy, then a course of antibiotics might be enough to get rid of the problem – along with some education on how to take better care of them, and how to spot the signs of the disease, in case it appears again.
Abscesses – Large swellings represent a deep infection that has taken hold beneath the gum line, and dental surgery is the only way to get rid of the diseased tissue. Whether the abscess is visible on the soft tissue – known as periodontal, or inside the structure of the tooth – known as periapical, the procedure is based on the same principle; drain and disinfect. The best course of action is to remove any toxic liquid or dead tissue and then thoroughly clean the area with antiseptic agent, to allow healthy regrowth from underneath. The surgeon may also offer some antibiotics, in order to fight the harmful bacteria from the inside.
Dental trauma – No one likes to imagine losing or breaking a tooth, but there are various treatments available to help rebuild any damaged teeth, right from the root upwards if necessary. Dental implants are a revolutionary way of replacing missing teeth – whether the sockets have been vacant for days or even years, and they provide a permanent solution to the problem. However, if the patient is looking for a less invasive alternative, they could always opt for a bridge or a partial denture, both of which can be created to blend in perfectly with the rest of the natural teeth, and can perform admirably under daily wear and tear. If the teeth have only been damaged superficially and they don’t have to be extracted, then they can be repaired using composite bonding material, which is moulded to the shape and size the tooth was originally, keeping it functional and protecting the inner pulp.
Cosmetic treatments – Although they might not be strictly necessary for health reasons, cosmetic dental surgery is very popular in today’s image conscious society, as everyone strives for that flawless ‘Hollywood’ smile. Treatments like tooth whitening are very low-risk and can provide fantastic results for people with discoloured teeth, without the stress of an extended recovery period. More surgical procedures, such as dental implants or veneers, are likely to be higher in cost, but provide a drastic change for patients who are after immediate results. Orthodontics could also be described as cosmetic rather than surgical, as the numerous brace systems work to straighten the teeth, without involving too much – if any – invasive surgery.