Many types of dental procedures are surgical in nature. If you are looking for a dentist near Winston-Salem, Eden, Reidsville, Charlotte, Mebane, Raleigh, or Durham with the skills and experience to perform dental surgery, you are in luck. Triad Dentistry is located in Greensboro, NC with a team of exceptional dentists offering a full range of services, both surgical and nonsurgical.
Implant placement surgery
If you are missing teeth, there are many nonsurgical options available to you, such as a dental bridge or standard denture. Although many patients are happy with those types of restorations, they are not trouble-free. Some people are displeased with the difficulties of cleaning under a bridge, discomfort of loose dentures, or generally less-than-ideal look and feel of those appliances. For these and many other reasons, implants are the most recommended tooth replacement solution.
Dental implants do require oral surgery. However, there is no need to worry. The procedure is straightforward and has a high rate of success when performed by a skilled dentist. Contrary to most patients’ expectations, there is very little discomfort during recovery. Although it actually takes a few months for the bone to completely heal and fuse with the implant, that process is generally painless. Post-treatment swelling or soreness is usually associated with the very small incision that is made in your gums, which heals very quickly.
There are several surgical procedures involving gum tissue, which may be performed for cosmetic or restorative purposes. Common types of gum surgeries include:
- Gum grafting – Gum disease, overly aggressive brushing, genetics, and other factors can cause gum recession, which is a concern medically and aesthetically. As gums recede, the surface of the tooth root is exposed. Because it is naturally protected by gums, this surface lacks the thick layer of hard enamel that covers the crowns of teeth, making it much more susceptible to decay. Additionally, gum recession makes your teeth look unnaturally long, which ages your facial appearance. Grafting may be performed using donor tissue taken from another area of the mouth. Alternately, a small flap may be created in the gums near the tooth and repositioned to cover the exposed root.
- Crown lengthening – This procedure has the opposite goal of grafting. It is used to uncover the margin of the tooth when there is too much gum tissue. Crown lengthening is commonly performed as a cosmetic treatment to correct the appearance of a “gummy” smile. In some cases, it is a necessary prerequisite to placing a dental crown, when there is not enough available tooth surface to cement the restoration in place. The procedure involves removing excess tissue with a few precise incisions. Depending on the situation, your dentist may also need to shave a small amount of hard tissue below the gumline.
- Contouring – Also called gum reshaping, this is normally a cosmetic procedure, performed when the gumline in uneven. The location and shape of the gumline has a significant impact on the appearance of teeth. Too much gum tissue makes the teeth look short, while too little makes them look long. When there are variations along the gumline, your smile will appear asymmetrical or disproportionate, even if the size and shape of teeth are ideal. Contouring surgery may be performed independently, or in conjunction with restorative or cosmetic tooth treatments.
Wisdom tooth extraction
The common procedure for removing a tooth is very straightforward, which is why it’s known as simple extraction. However, wisdom teeth are often impacted, meaning that all or part of the tooth remains below the gumline. In this situation, your dentist is not able to grasp the tooth with an instrument to simply “pull” it. The same problem occurs if a tooth is broken off or decayed below the gumline. In these cases, surgical extraction is necessary.
Surgical extraction begins with numbing the area, and then creating an opening in the gums to access the tooth. Some bony tissue may be removed as well. Once the tooth is exposed, your dentist will use special instruments to remove it in one or several pieces.
Although this is a more complex procedure than simple extraction, it is very common, and our dentists have extensive experience with excellent outcomes. In fact, surgical removal of problematic wisdom teeth is the most common type of oral surgery that we perform in our office.
A healthy tooth root provides necessary stimulation that triggers bone regeneration. Therefore, once a tooth is lost, the bone in that area begins decreasing, a process known as resorption. People who have been missing teeth for some time might not have enough bone tissue to support implants. Additionally, advanced periodontal disease can attack the bone. Therefore, people who lost their teeth to untreated periodontal disease might have insufficient quality or quantity of bone.
Grafting is an effective way to augment the bone tissue, restoring a strong and healthy foundation for implants. There are several techniques. A bit of bone tissue may be taken from a donor site, such as your hip, and grafted in the mouth. More commonly, we use an artificial grafting material, which your body accepts as if it were actual bone tissue.
Although bone grafting might sound like a complex and painful procedure, it is usually quite uncomplicated. It may take a few months for the bone to be strong enough for implant placement, but soreness and other post-treatment effects usually fade within a couple of weeks. The exact timeline and recovery will vary from one patient to the next, depending on your overall health and the extent of the graft.
Preparation and recovery
The process begins with an in-depth consultation with one of our skilled dentists. We will perform an examination and review your medical history in order to determine if oral surgery is appropriate. If you are a good candidate, your dentist will explain the procedure, risks, benefits, expected outcome, and any viable treatment alternatives.
With the extensive skills of our dental team, most oral surgeries are performed right here in our office. However, certain complex or rare procedures will be referred to a qualified specialist. Every situation is unique, and our recommendation is always based on your best interests. If you are scheduled for dental surgery here in our office, we will provide complete pre-treatment instructions in advance.
The recovery time and potential side effects vary, depending on the type of oral surgery you undergo. You will be given care instructions, such as how to clean the area and any activity restrictions. A soft food diet is recommended immediately after most surgeries, for your comfort and to protect the healing area.
Sedation options during oral surgery
Smile care shouldn’t hurt! We use local anesthetic coupled with gentle techniques to prevent pain during surgeries and other dental treatment. However, we also understand that some people have low pain tolerance, dental fear, or general anxiety about even minor surgeries. Additionally, some surgical procedures can involve lengthy appointments, which may be unpleasant. That is why we offer several sedation options, so that you can enjoy your ideal level of relaxation during treatment.
- Nitrous oxide – Better known as laughing gas, this is the lightest form of sedation. You will remain fully conscious and aware but feel more relaxed than normal. Many people also report mild feelings of euphoria. Nitrous oxide can improve relaxation and aid in pain relief during the appointment. When treatment is complete, the nitrous oxide is neutralized with oxygen, so it does not have lasting effects. This is the only form of dental sedation that allows you to drive yourself home after your appointment.
- Oral sedation – This is the next level of dental sedation, with stronger relaxation properties than nitrous oxide. Your dentist will prescribe a sedative. You will need to take the pill in advance of treatment, so it can have time to fully take effect. The gradual onset of oral sedatives is beneficial for individuals who feel nervous before a dental appointment.
- IV sedation – This is the strongest level of sedation, and also the most customizable. Sedative medication is delivered directly to your bloodstream, so the dosage can be adjusted during treatment with near-instant results. You will remain conscious, but likely feel extremely groggy.
Why choose Triad Dentistry for oral surgery
Dr. Hatcher has had an unwavering commitment to excellence from the beginning of his career. He began with a solid educational background, which he has built on with countless hours in continuing education and advanced studies. Coupled with years of hands-on experience and remarkable attention to detail, he has developed a level of clinical and artistic excellence that impresses patients and colleagues alike. He applied this same elevated standard of excellence when choosing team members, only working with dentists, assistants, and hygienists who share his passion for perfection and patient satisfaction.
Although most oral surgeries are minor procedures with low risk of complications, we understand the importance of a positive patient experience, rapid healing, and an excellent outcome. Therefore, dental surgery is approached with the same diligence that major surgery would be. If you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Steven Hatcher
Dr. Hatcher is a passionate and driven professional who strives to preserve and enhance natural beauty in every dental treatment. He is keen on developing an individualist approach when it comes to treating his patients to ensure patient care is a tailor-made experience for the comfort of each client.