Below is a list of surgical services we provide in our office.
Surgical Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction is one of the most common and dreaded dental procedures. Wisdom teeth are removed if they are impacted or to avoid overcrowding the other teeth. Sometimes, there is no salvaging a damaged tooth; extraction is the only solution to preserve the surrounding teeth and restore oral health.
There are two types of extraction; simple and surgical. The tooth's location has much to do with the kind of extraction warranted. A simple extraction involves a tooth that is visible and easily accessible; surgical extraction is for a tooth that requires an incision to gain access to remove it. The dentist will review your dental history and perform a thorough exam to determine the appropriate extraction method. Dr. Lovelace will use local anesthesia for either procedure to ensure the patient's comfort.
Simple extractions are, as the name implies, simple. The dentist uses a special dental tool to grip the tooth and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it enough to remove it. The recovery time is minimal; most patients are completely healed within ten days, and there is rarely any complication.
Surgical extractions are more involved because they require creating an incision into the gums to remove the tooth safely and completely. Wisdom teeth are removed by surgical extraction due to their location, root length and shape, and many are only partially exposed. A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure requiring more time to perform and a longer time to recover. After the extraction, the dentist will apply a thick layer of gauze and have the patient apply firm but gentle pressure to the surgical site to aid in the control of bleeding. The gauze will be left in place for a minimum of thirty minutes and must be replaced with new gauze if it becomes saturated with blood. The dentist will give detailed instructions on proper aftercare to avoid infection or damaging the extraction site. Follow instructions given by the dentist for post-procedure hygiene and pain control, and take all medications as directed.
A Tori is a bony overgrowth in the mouth. It is considered harmless unless it affects speech, becomes painful, or interferes with the placement of dental hardware like a bridge, dentures, or implants. A Tori removal involves the dentist making an incision, smoothing the bone, then stitching the gums back together. Swelling after the procedure is expected and will subside in a few days. The dentist may prescribe medications to help manage pain and prevent infection and will give detailed directions on caring for the surgical site.
Bone Grafts are an extremely common dental treatment; they can restore the jaw to its original form after trauma, tooth loss, or gum disease. Bone loss is a severe problem and can lead to major dental issues, including additional tooth loss. Bone loss will affect what restorative dental treatments are available to replace missing teeth, and left untreated can change the facial structure. Bone grafts are highly successful and instrumental in restoring and maintaining oral health after tooth loss.
For a bone graft, the dentist makes a surgical incision to access the jawbone, places bone grafting material in the area needing increased volume and density, and then uses sutures to close the opening. The bone grafting material acts as a scaffolding for the body to regenerate new bone growth. The dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area before the grafting. Some pain, minor swelling, and bruising after the bone graft is expected but will subside in a couple of days. Complete healing with new bone growth can take several months, but there should be no additional discomfort. Many patients report little to no pain with a bone graft, especially when they follow the directions provided by the dentist.
The alveolus is the portion of the jawbone that holds teeth in place, the tooth socket. Sometimes, when a tooth is extracted, the jawbone is not smooth, making placing a restoration tooth impossible. In these cases, the dentist will perform an Alveoplasty on the site, which surgically recontours the jawbone to allow for restoration tooth placement. The dentist often does this procedure during the natural tooth extraction but may also be done after the initial healing stage in the final preparation for the restoration tooth.
Crown Lengthening is a surgical reshaping of the gum line to expose more of a tooth's surface. There are several reasons the dentist may recommend this; the most common is tooth decay below the gum line, a fractured or broken tooth below the gum line, or to create enough space for a crown to be placed on the tooth. As with all surgical procedures, the dentist first numbs the area with a local anesthetic to ensure the patient does not feel pain. The gum line is contoured to allow for the necessary dental treatments and to be aesthetically pleasing. The crown lengthening is completed in one appointment in about an hour; gum tissue recovery takes one to two weeks. The patient can resume work the next day, carefully following the detailed post-procedure instructions the dentist provides.