Is Oral Surgery Safe If You Have Prosthetic Teeth?

You could be considering gum surgery for a variety of reasons – gum disease, overgrown tissue, and preparation for crowns are only a few. However, if you already have prosthetics in place, you may be wondering what the risk of surgery poses to them. While dentists do all they can to ensure that you get the treatment you need, you should also understand what treatments are safe and which should be avoided.

First: Know Your Surgical Options

When it comes to surgery, dentists typically use 3 treatment methods. To determine which option to use, your dentist considers the type and size of surgery as well as your individual circumstances and personal preferences. These are the methods you could be presented with:

  • Scalpel: A scalpel is a quick tool for large cuts. It can also be used more slowly for precise cuts. Because dentists can control the speed and accuracy of scalpels, they are considered safe for every patient. However, you might prefer an instrument that uses a heat output to speed the surgery.
  • Electrosurgery: Electrosurgery uses electric conduction to create high levels of heat. It is the fastest-cutting tool and its size can be adjusted to make major minor cuts. Unfortunately, electrosurgery can cause problematic side effects if brought too close to bones and prosthetics.
  • Laser Treatment: A few different lasers are used in dentistry. Lasers are used in dentistry for both hard tissue – teeth and bones – and soft tissue – gums, inner cheeks, and tongue -- surgeries. Laser beams are very precise and reduce bleeding and swelling. Lasers also reduces the amount of anesthesia necessary during surgery. Their main disadvantage is that it takes longer to perform the surgery.

Second: Understand Why Electrosurgery is Not Recommended

As with all surgeries, oral surgery requires very precise instruments. Safe removal of infected gum tissue is done using any of the 3 surgical methods. However, electrosurgery is not a safe option if you have any metal or alloy in your mouth – such as brackets holding dentures in place and gold fillings. Here's why:

  • Electrosurgery Can Damage Prosthetics: The device heats to a temperature that can damage the shape and function of prosthetics. The electric conduction during surgery can also cause implants to disintegrate.
  • Speed of Surgery Poses a Threat to Prosthetics: Many dentists prefer electrosurgery over laser treatment because it is faster. While this is an advantage when dealing with large growths, it can be a disadvantage when precision cutting around a bracket or near an implant is required.

Third: Consider the Advantages of Laser Treatment

Laser therapy is growing in popularity throughout the medical industry and dentists are starting to use lasers more and more in their offices, as well. The diode laser is popular for treating gums and other soft tissues. The advantages of lasers over electrosurgery for patients with prosthetics are easily apparent. Consider this:

  • Laser Therapy uses Lower Temperatures: The lower temperature of laser enables it to come closer to prosthetics without risking damage to them. They won't melt or lose their form. Laser beams won't cause implants to disintegrate either.
  • Lasers Allow for Better Precision: Because it is a slower process, dentists can be more precise with laser cuts than other devices. It is easier to avoid cutting into a metal piece when removing the tissue that has grown up around it.

While every method used for soft-tissue surgery has advantages and disadvantages, if you have prosthetics you should definitely consider laser treatment. There is less risk of damage to the metals and alloys in your mouth and more precision cutting with a laser beam. Talk to your dentist, someone like Neu Family Dental Center, for more information.