Dental Surgery Options
Dental surgery, also referred to as oral surgery, consists of a wide range of dental procedures. Technically, most dental treatments fall under the category of dental surgery. Many dentists have the degree D.D.S., which stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery. In the strictest sense of the word “surgery”, something as simple as a filling is a surgical procedure because it involves cutting on a living part of the body: your teeth!
What Procedures are Dental Surgery?
In general, most people think of tooth extractions or dental implants as dental surgery. The category actually includes many other treatments. The CDT is a set of established codes for dental procedures, and it assigns all dental procedures a category. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery category contains most of the procedures considered “dental surgery”.
Not all extractions are alike. Some teeth require a more surgical approach to remove them, including removal of gum and bone tissue. Any removal of a tooth, no matter what it requires, is dental surgery.
A biopsy is the removal of any type of tissue for evaluation under a microscope by a pathologist. Biopsies in dental surgery include by hard and soft tissues. Anything abnormal in the teeth and bone (the hard tissue) or the gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, and palate (the soft tissues) may need a biopsy.
Biopsies do not always remove the entire abnormality. Some biopsies are incisional, meaning the surgeon removes only a portion of it for diagnosis. Others are excisional, meaning the surgeon removes the whole lesion and sends it to the pathologist for diagnosis.
Some teeth are hard to move. There are surgical procedures that help move these difficult teeth. Some alter the ligaments holding a tooth in place, others alter the bone around a tooth, and many place an anchor for the orthodontist to attach wires and rubber bands.
Reshaping the Jawbone
When a patient requires extraction of teeth and restoration with a removable appliance like a denture, the shape of the remaining jawbone is very important. Sharp edges or thin points can lead to painful sores. The dental surgeon reshapes the jawbone in preparation for a denture or partial so that the bone heals into a smooth, rounded shape.
If a tooth has been missing for a long time, the jawbone in its site shrinks. First, it gets narrower in width; then it gets shorter in height. A procedure called bone grafting, or augmentation, aims to return the bone to a more acceptable size. These grafting procedures usually precede the replacement of that missing tooth with a dental implant.
Bone grafting also repairs periodontal defects in the bone around a tooth. Dental surgeons use various types of bone material for grafting, including demineralized bovine and cadaver bone, synthetic bone granules, or the patient’s own bone harvested from a donor site.
The sinus cavities in our heads sit right atop the roots of the upper back teeth. If those teeth are missing, the sinus cavities dip down into the space where the roots were, leaving the jawbone too thin for a dental implant. In order to restore a missing tooth in this situation, dental surgeons can actually move the sinus out of the way with a procedure called a sinus lift. It sounds complicated, but it is actually a very simple procedure done in conjunction with the dental implant placement.
Dental implants are the most natural, best looking and most functional way to replace a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Read more about implants on our Dental Implant page.
Jaw Repositioning, Repairing Traumatic Injuries, and TMJ Surgery
There are many types of dental surgery that require a higher level of training. When they are necessary, your dentist at Premier Dental of Ohio will work in close conjunction with a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon to coordinate your diagnosis and treatment. Surgeries to reposition the upper and lower jaws, repair jaw fractures and severe facial wounds, or address issues in the jaw joint itself require an oral surgeon’s skill.
Who Can Perform Dental Surgery?
It is important to know that all dentists are highly trained in surgical procedures. Some are specialists that obtain more years of training and limit their practice to oral surgery only. Others are general practitioners who choose to refine and focus on certain surgical treatments in order to offer the best treatment to their patients. At Premier Dental of Ohio, we are proud to provide a network of dentists who offer a wide variety of surgical options to our patients.