minor oral surgery
‘operations in the treatment of disease or injury’
the word ‘surgery’ fills us all with dread.
reassuringly however, in the general dental practice setting oral surgery tends to be minor and relates mainly to the extraction of teeth, removal or drainage of soft tissue lesions, apicectomies, periodontal (gum) surgery, and implant placement.
the vast majority of tooth removals are straightforward and pose no problems.
occasionally teeth may be impacted or difficult to remove because they are heavily diseased or restored.
impacted wisdom teeth
wisdom teeth are the last teeth to appear at the back of the mouth and often there is not enough room at the back of the jaw to accommodate them. they come through at an angle either pressing into the teeth in front or the bone behind and are difficult to keep clean.
pericoronitis is inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the crown of a partially erupted tooth, including the gingiva (gums) and the dental follicle.
it commonly occurs around the wisdom teeth at the back of the mouth and may settle down or come and go over a period of time.
if it recurs over and over, it is probably better to remove the tooth.
a tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection.
the abscess can occur at different regions of the tooth for different reasons.
a periapical abscess occurs at the tip of the root, whereas a periodontal abscess occurs in the gums at the side of a tooth root.
a periapical abscess usually occurs as a result of an untreated dental cavity, injury or previous dental work.
bacteria enter through either a dental cavity or a chip or crack in the tooth and spread down to the root and into the jawbone.
the bacterial infection can cause pain, facial swelling and difficulty eating.
treatment of the abscess involves draining it by way of incising the gum so reducing the size of the swelling, relieving the pressure and getting rid of the infection.
leaving a tooth abscess untreated can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications.
an apicectomy is a surgical procedure to
1. remove an infected tooth root tip
2. clean out the surrounding infection
3. place a filling to cap and seal off the new end of the tooth.
the most common reason to consider an apicectomy is persistent infection around a root tip, after conventional root canal work.
this infection can cause pain, swelling and discharge over the top of the tooth in the gum and can get quite extensive.
in some cases, it is preferable to repeat the root canal therapy, but this is not always possible or practical. surgery is then the best option to deal with the infection.
the suitability of apicectomy treatment can only be determined after thorough examination of the tooth’s appearance and x-rays/scans.