No one looks forward to surgery, but with today’s technology, we are witnessing a revolution in minimally-invasive procedures in both medical and dental surgery. Minimally-invasive surgical techniques mean that patients experience less pain and swelling, fewer complications, and a faster recovery! In the area of oral surgery, patients are now benefiting from minimally-invasive techniques for tooth extractions, bone grafting, and dental implants.
Tooth extractions due to impacted wisdom teeth, broken crowns, or dental emergencies used to be quite complicated. Now with minimally-invasive procedures, skilled oral surgeons can perform extractions with micro-incisions and specific surgical techniques that leave the gum tissue and supporting bone untouched. The entire experience is much less painful for patients and recovery time is dramatically improved.
Likewise, minimally-invasive techniques have also had a huge positive effect on bone and soft tissue grafting. Using tunnel techniques and guided bone regeneration, we can now increase bone height and width using only one small incision. The recovery is much faster and the risk of complications is significantly reduced. Together with the use of biologics, such as platelet rich fibrin and bone grafting materials, we can now correct significant bone and soft tissue deficiencies with great predictability and results.
Lastly, the placement of dental implants has also become a much more conservative procedure, thanks largely to digital diagnosis and planning. We utilize a cone beam CT scan, optical impressions, and software to virtually plan the implant placement and create surgical guides using 3-D printing to place the implants with a high degree of precision and safety. With this approach, the surgical access for implant placement is kept to a minimum. We can also use osseodensification techniques during implant placement to further expand and augment the bone in different directions without a single incision. Also, should failing or poorly-positioned dental implants can now be removed atraumatically with reverse torque technique requiring no incisions or bone cutting.
With such advances in technology, techniques, and instrumentation, patients can enjoy the benefits of such surgical procedures with minimal to no discomfort or swelling and can return to work or school much faster than ever before. Minimally-invasive techniques also decrease the risks of complications and enhance the overall success of oral surgery.
Dr. H. Ryan Kazemi is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Bethesda, MD with focus on minimally-invasive oral surgery procedures.