Dental surgery

Surgery is usually performed in extreme cases or where non-surgical forms of treatment have failed to ease or relieve the problem.

Many people dislike the idea of having surgery but there are times when it is the most suitable option which will pay dividends in the long term. If you are in severe pain and discomfort then it may be the only answer.

This branch of dentistry is often known as ‘oral surgery’. It includes a wide range of procedures to treat conditions related to the teeth, gums and jaws.

Types of dental surgery

These include:

  • Maxillofacial surgery
  • Root canal surgery
  • Tooth extraction
  • Dental implants
  • TMJ disorder
  • Facial/jaw injury

Maxillofacial surgery

Maxillofacial surgery refers to surgery undertaken on the jaw, teeth, gums and neck. This includes both soft and hard tissues in those areas and involves some very complex procedures.

Examples of maxillofacial surgery include bone grafting, complex tooth extractions, overbite, facial tumours and birth defects such as a cleft palate.

Root canal surgery

This is performed to treat a tooth infected by bacteria which has spread to the pulp and root canal itself causing pain and inflammation. The site of the infection is removed and the root canal cleaned before being filled.

Find out more in the root treatment section.

Tooth extraction

Extractions are less commonly performed than they used to be but there are still occasions where a tooth will need to be removed. One example of this is wisdom teeth removal. Plus a tooth may have to be removed if it has become severely infected to the extent that it has destroyed the nerve.

Dental implants

This is a two stage process which involves the insertion of a small metal implant into the jaw which then fuses with the natural bone of the jaw. Once it has done so a device called an ‘abutment’ is fitted into the implant which acts as a connection between it and an artificial tooth.

TMJ disorder

This stands for temporomandibular disorder and affects the movement and flexibility of the jaw. In some cases surgery is needed to reposition the jaw to enable normal functioning.

Facial/jaw injury

Facial injuries such as those sustained in an accident may require reconstructive surgery. This can involve grafting bone into the damaged area in order to rebuild the jaw.

Other types of dental surgery

Other related areas include treating severe facial lacerations and the reconnection of severed nerves and blood vessels. 

Surgery is performed in orthodontic cases where teeth have to be removed in order to allow the fitting of a brace. One example of that is an overbite which is discussed below.

Another area is that of correcting an overbite: this is where the upper teeth protrude over the bottom teeth rather than meeting in the middle which leads to jaw pain and an increased risk of wear and tear on the teeth.

Various tumours and cancers of the face, neck, mouth and head are treated with surgery. This involves the removal of benign or malignant growths followed by a course of chemotherapy.

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