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The Difference between Dentists and Oral Surgeons

January 17th, 2018

It’s useful to know what your dentist does in comparison to an oral surgeon. You may end up needing to see the latter at some point in your life, so Dr. Bentz and our team want you to understand the difference if you need to schedule an appointment with one of us.

Both dentists and oral surgeons are taught the skills to maintain a healthy mouth for their patients. They are both required to obtain a medical license after years of schooling, and some choose to go through additional to schooling to be able to treat specific areas of oral health.

Your general dentist is equipped to perform preventive care and treatment of teeth that show decay and damage. Cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening and veneer placement are also common. However, in some circumstances, you may need an oral surgeon if the procedure you need to undergo exceeds your dentist’s abilities.

If you’ve been referred to Dr. Bentz, it may be because you need the following procedure done:

  • Dental implant surgery
  • Removal of a problem tooth
  • Oral cancer biopsies
  • Removal of tumors or cysts
  • Reconstructive surgery of the jaw or face to resolve various problems
  • Corrective surgery of the jaw to improve structure and alignment
  • Grafting of the bone or soft tissues in order to resolve defects and injuries
  • Repair of birth defects that have affected the face or jaw

Staying vigilant about your daily oral health routine and bi-yearly dental appointments may prevent problems that require these services. However, it may be impossible to avoid some of these procedures.

If you have noticed a serious issue involving your oral health, contact our East Norriton, PA office and schedule a consultation. Our team will create a plan to treat you quickly and effectively.

Questions on Dental Implants? We’ve Got You Covered.

January 10th, 2018

Whether you’ve lost a tooth from decay, are preparing for dentures, or were born with a gap where a tooth should have been, you could be a candidate for dental implants.

Dental implants have changed a lot since their debut in 1965, thanks to continuing advances in design and technology. Today, you no longer have to worry about whether dental implants might have a negative aesthetic impact on your smile.

So what are dental implants? Pretty much what they sound like: An implant is a replacement tooth that substitutes for a missing natural one. It gets placed through several steps; it’s a process that can take a few months.

The initial step involves the surgical implantation of the implant root, which resembles a small screw. After that’s placed, the top is covered with gum tissue to enable it to heal faster. This is an essential phase in the process, since this portion of the implant will serve as the base of support for everything else.

In the second step, the implant gets uncovered and an implant restoration (or crown) is created and affixed to it. After that, you’ve got yourself a new tooth!

While dental implants require a little special care, it’s all easily manageable. All you have to do at home is make sure you brush and floss your implant daily, the same as you would for any other tooth. Although an implant can’t develop a cavity, if something were to get stuck in it, that could lead to a gum infection.

If you have any other questions about dental implants, give our East Norriton, PA office a call!

What is a dry socket?

January 4th, 2018

A dry socket isn’t a common post-surgery complication, but it happens occasionally. A dry socket, technically known as alveolar osteitis, can occur after an adult tooth is extracted from the mouth. It occurs if the blood clot at the place the tooth was extracted gets lost.

Without a small, protective blood clot where the tooth was removed, nothing will stop the exposed bone and nerves from becoming infected. It’s easy to treat a dry socket, and care is recommended if noticeable pain develops in the area where the tooth came out.

You may have a dry socket if you experience severe pain, bad breath, or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Dry sockets can happen right after a tooth is extracted, or may develop several days later due to bacterial contamination or trauma.

There is a higher risk of having a dry socket if you smoke, take oral contraceptives, perform poor oral hygiene, or have pre-existing infections in your mouth. Make sure you pay close attention to the state of your mouth after a tooth extraction if you have one or more of these higher risks for developing a dry socket.

If this condition does occur after surgery, Dr. Bentz can help by cleaning any debris that may have settled in the area. We can also provide a medicated gauze that should be changed regularly to help speed the healing process.

Antibiotics may be prescribed, depending on the infection, but Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can usually be sufficient to ease any pain.

If you think you might have a dry socket following oral surgery, please contact our East Norriton, PA office and let us know which symptoms you’re experiencing so we can assist you. To avoid getting a dry socket, make sure to get plenty of rest after surgery, drink lots of water, eat soft foods, and clean your mouth thoroughly.

We hope you never experience a dry socket, but if the situation does arise, you should be ready now!

Post Oral Surgery: Signs of Infection

December 27th, 2017

Oral surgery can be intimidating, especially if you show any signs of an infection afterwards. Dr. Bentz and our team want you to be informed about what to watch for after you’ve undergone surgery.

Oral surgery procedures are intended to reduce pain and prevent infection. Sometimes complications occur after your surgery, and if infection ensues, it will require swift medical attention.

People undergo oral surgery for many reasons, such as:

  • Impacted or infected teeth
  • Tooth loss, jaw problems
  • Facial injuries or infections
  • Birth defects
  • Sleep apnea

Symptoms of Infection

  • Pain that won’t go away with medication
  • Steadily swelling of gums, jaw, or face
  • Redness or oozing of pus from the area
  • Fever that doesn't subside
  • Difficulty opening the mouth or jaw
  • Excessive bleeding for 24 hours
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing (emergency situation)

After the initial surgery, don’t become worried right away if you notice any of these symptoms. It’s normal to show some blood and swelling after surgery, but that should stop fairly soon with the help of gauze and medication.

You will most likely be numb from the procedure and we will advise you to avoid hard foods for the first day. Pain medication will be administered, and you should take it before you begin to notice pain. A cold compress can also help with swelling and initial pain.

You will be advised not to brush your teeth in the region where the surgery occurred. You may use a prescription mouth rinse, or you can gargle with warm salt water to reduce the swelling. If you follow these directions, you can speed the healing process for a quick recovery.

Don’t fret: a post-surgery infection is not a common development. It happens most often to people who have a compromised immune system or diabetes. Let Dr. Bentz know beforehand if you have either of these and we may prescribe an antibiotic to help prevent the spread of infection in the areas of your mouth that get worked on.

If you think you may be experiencing complications after a surgery, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our East Norriton, PA office for advice.